Looking at the faces of those who have fallen and driving by Arlington National Cemetery, I am reminded of the cost of freedom. Those who died allow me to travel freely. Those who sacrificed everything invested in freedom for my family and yours so that we can all live our lives where we choose to live them and worship where, and however, we please. These are freedoms most of the world can only dream about.
It has been said that most of us no longer know anyone who is serving in the military and that's too bad. Some college campuses (like Harvard) continue to ban the ROTC without acknowledging that Harvard might not exist were it not for soldiers willing to fight to preserve academic freedom.
"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose," goes the Kris Kristofferson lyric. But that is a cynical view of freedom. In a city and a state that helped give freedom birth, there are constant reminders of those who were freedom's midwives. If John Adams, his cousin Sam, Paul Revere and so many others from our past could speak today, they would remind us that freedom is never fully paid for and that its loss would exact a greater cost.
Folk singer Joan Baez plans to return to Cambridge this week to mark the 50th anniversary of Club Passim, where her career of singing mostly protest songs began. That she still has the freedom to sing those songs results from the sacrifices of the patriots who died for her right to protest. It would be nice if she sang a song honoring them, but that's probably "just blowin' in the wind."