Monday, March 15, 2010

The Price of Freedom

Since September 11, 2001, I have lowered the flag in my front yard on numerous occasions to honor the sacrifice of a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman who had recently paid the utmost price for my freedom. In each instance I have said a prayer for the family of the departed hero as my flag lowered to honor their sacrifice. During the official period of mourning, the sight of my half-masted flag was a quiet and eloquent reminder of the fact that "Freedom Isn't Free".

On Friday night I went out to my flagpole and, once again, lowered my flag to half mast. But the prayer I offered that night was for my own family this time. Earlier that day my cousin, SFC Glen Jacob Whetten, joined the ranks of those who have given the last full measure of devotion for their country.

The flag in my front yard flies at half mast, and I see Jake now every time I pass it. When the official word gets out and flags across the state lower to half mast, I will see Jake. And I will cry. I am more intimately acquainted with the price of my freedom now. The Hall of Heroes is no longer a nameless, faceless group of men and women from ages past. It now has the name and face of someone I know and love, someone I looked up to and prayed for.

SFC Glen Jacob Whetten, United States Army
March 19, 1978 - March 12, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom