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The cost of freedom to our military children

At the end of every month when I'm looking over my credit card bills, bank statements, investment accounts and numerous other places my money goes, I realize that life costs money.  Kids cost money.  My husband continues to ask why our grocery bill exponentially increases as our children grow older.  Kids grow out of clothes, shoes, beds, and so much more which cost money to replace.  Toys that were popular last year are discarded and new toys are purchased in an effort to entertain our children for even a small portion of time so that we can take a shower, eat a hot meal, or just sit and play with them.  It all has a cost and, eventually, we must teach our children about these costs so that they can become well-functioning, non-overspending, responsible adults.

But, there's more that has a cost - and it's just as important to include in our children's education.

Every day, every week, month and year, men and women - heroes - are lost fighting for America's freedoms so that our children can have the chance to become whatever they dream of being without fear - so they can have the freedom to grow up.  This past week, the Air Force community lost a hero when an F-15 crashed.  Granted, I did not personally know this hero, but I felt the loss.  This hero had the same job my husband has.  He was a father, a mentor, a celebrated veteran and another example of the costs of freedom.  The family and friends left behind are feeling the cost of freedom.  His children are feeling the cost of freedom.  It is not the first time nor will it be the last that a child comes face to face with this cost.  It's not the first nor will it be the last that I've come face to face with this cost.

Just as we often grieve the cost of goods and services we buy monetarily, so do we grieve the cost of freedom.  And, just as we educate children on how to maintain financial security, so must we educate them on maintaining our freedom.

Death is not something that I necessarily want to teach my children about.  Unfortunately, we don't often get the choice on whether or not they get this education.  Any day, their father - my husband - could leave for work, get called off to war, fly a regular sortie and something could happen.  What I need to teach my children - as a part of a military family - is that freedom is not free.  I need to teach them to know that, despite what happens, the military life is a life of honor and respect.  Every service member - every family member - pays a cost to support our freedoms.  We have periods of separation due to TDY's, we have multiple moves away from family and friends, we have deployments with little to no communication, and we have losses like that which happened last week.  We build our support teams, we learn to connect quickly and across miles, and we join together in times of grief whether or not we are personally connected - simply because we know how precious all costs of freedom are.

But, as we educate our children on the cost of freedom, let us also remember that they are still children.  While we educate them, we must also remind them to enjoy life and that you can still live while grieving.  Let us honor our heroes by fulfilling the life and freedom for which they have so deeply paid.

As I take this time to remember the cost of freedom, I want to send out my most sincere prayers to the Fontenot family and members of the 104th FW and 131st FS.  May your hero never be forgotten.



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