LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Freedom is not free

By Charles Cotten, Cpl. USMC, 1962-65 Odessa

It is Memorial Day morning and I have just finished watching the PBS special on Memorial Day that I recorded last night. I will save it to watch again and again throughout the year to remember the sacrifice of so many so that you and I could live in this free country. As I watched and listened to the stories, I cried like a baby remembering. I hope our young people truly understand the meaning of Memorial Day. As a Viet Nam veteran, I had the honor to participate in the Honor Flight that just recently returned from Washington DC where we got to see the memorials to all the veterans.

I got to see the World War II and Navy memorials to honor my father who served in the Pacific and took part in the battle of Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa. I got to see the Viet Nam Wall and rub my hand on the names of my comrades that died there. I got to see the Korean Memorial where the phrase “Freedom is Not Free” is emblazoned. This phrase is attributed to our own John Ben Shepperd.

It was an awesome experience and I thank all the local businesses that made it possible. On this Memorial Day, my prayer is that every Odessan in the midst of their playing and enjoying a day off will take a moment to say a small prayer of thanks to all those who have served and those that have given the ultimate sacrifice that they can enjoy this day. In spite of our many differences and difficulties we still live in the greatest and freest nation ever to grace the face of this earth.