No. 957


If you were asked to define, in one word, the most precious possession we have in our nation, something we call freedom, what would it be? To be sure there are many words in the English language that come to mind, at least to my mind, like sacrifice, courage, valor and liberty. Of course there are many more.
However, on reflecting on this question at a deeper level, the one word that I believe best describes freedom is blood. It is the shed blood of all those who fought and died to preserve the very freedom that we enjoy today. And from my perspective, if we are to maintain the very freedom that was won and preserved for both the present and for our posterity, we must be ever vigilante.
If recent surveys and reports are true that up to 40 percent of the younger generation do not have a clue about how our nation’s freedom was won and preserved, we, who are in the older generation, need to get busy. While I have stated this many times in the past, I am reminded of that famous quote by President John F. Kennedy, “The great danger is not that the present generation will destroy our system, but that we won’t transmit it.” Something a friend sent me the other day reminded me of this. It was a whole series of photographs of a great number of cemeteries all across Europe showing the grave markers (yes, with crosses), and the number of brave American soldiers who were buried there.
If you have children and grandchildren, when you have a few minutes of quality time, why not sit down together and read the following names and numbers to them. You can also explain that these brave men and women, fighting to preserve our nation’s, shed their blood and died so they could be free. In alphabetical order, here are the names of the European cemeteries and the number of Americans who are buried there. I might add, in each case the American Flag proudly waves for all to see.
The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium – a total of 5,329. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France – a total of 4,410. The American Cemetery at Brookwood, England - a total of 468. The American Cemetery at Cambridge, England – a total of 3,812. The American Cemetery at Epinal, France – a total of 5,525. The American Cemetery at Florence, Italy – a total of 4,402. The American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Belgium – a total of 7,992. The American Cemetery at Lorraine, France – A total of 10,489. The American Cemetery at Luxembourg – a total of 5,076. The American Cemetery in The Netherlands – a total of 8,301.
The American Cemetery at Normandy, France – a total of 9,387. The American Cemetery at Rhone, France – a total of 867. The American Cemetery at Sicily, Italy – a total of 7,861. The American Cemetery at Somme, France – a total of 1,844. The American Cemetery at St. Mihiel, France – a total of 4,153. The American Cemetery at Suresnes, France – a total of 1,541. These cemeteries plus others brings the count to 104,366 who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
While America is far from perfect, you can just ask yourself, how many French, Dutch, Italian, Belgian and British soldiers are buried on our soil? Of course the answer is none. Our nation has always been the protector of freedom, and this has often required the shedding of blood for a cause the vast majority of us believe in. We must teach this to our children if we are to remain free. Hope you are willing to go the extra mile.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)