Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom isn't free. Our family just happened to witness two of the most powerful reminders of this, back to back, and I thought I would share my experiences with you.

We recently spent a morning at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City. In the shadows of the newly-built Freedom Tower, which is the largest building in the Western Hemisphere, the beautiful 911 Memorial ponds look small. The water falls over the edges of the foundation where the two WTC buildings stood and, because of the brilliant design, the water falls endlessly; you cannot see it hit ground.

Every Memorial Day, our family tradition is to run the Bolder Boulder and stay for the Memorial Day service. This year, the rain stopped and we enjoyed the most beautiful weather in over a month. Our family set our all-time best time (an hour and twenty minutes, which is a fourth of the speed of the winners). Our nine-year old ran for half the race, or three miles, which we view as a tremendous accomplishment. But it was not what I remember most.

The winners of the race, both men and women, are from Ethiopia. I imagine they know a lot about running. But they likely live in a much more dangerous world, with a government that redefines corruption. Every year, at the end of the race, Section 113 of Folsom Field is full of the Ethiopians, expressing pride in their country, and similarly showing gratitude to the USA for inviting them to run.

The Memorial Day Service in Boulder, Colorado, they said, is the largest such celebration in the country. Yesterday, the Ethiopians won the race, appropriately enough. Our country's history is one of immigration. Our country reveals its democracy by showing the way, by rebuilding the World Trade Center, only taller, and by honoring our veterans. Many of our heroes have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We are thankful, blessed and honored by their service.

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