Freedom is purchased at a price.

Fees negotiated at a market called Power through a seller who goes by the name Dominance. Bargaining often vicious; terms cruel and language crude.

The currency difficult to carry; impossible to save and most recognized as single units:

War.

Blood.

Amputee.

Martyr.

Widow.

Bomb.

Veteran.

Nuclear.

Orphan.

Death.

Refugee.

Torture.

Surrender.

Battle.

PSD.

Massacre.

Zealot.

Combat.

Militia.

Airstrike.

Carnage.

Shelter.

Butchery.

Slaughter.

Hero.

The compensation demanded spelled out in heroes’ blood on foreign fields.   Children’s faces staring at flag draped caskets.  Bloated bodies of war weary refugees washed up on pristine beaches.   The hope of a better future erased from open vacant eyes.

Gettysburg, Benghazi, Bunker Hill, Vietnam, Nagasaki, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Dachau, Somme, Midway, Hiroshima, Bagdad.

We are taught to recite the names of distant lands, battle grounds, immortalized victorious generals.   We stand in quiet reverence at the war memorials.  Shrink from testimonies of human’s capacity to hate.   Americans respect the instinct to fight, to overcome; to demand freedom even when it’s from each other.   We fight for people who look like us; and we fight for everyone who doesn’t.   We fight for the right to live lives free of persecution for our beliefs even when the beliefs we are dying for do not match our own.

The cause is freedom; the fight is just.  We are Americans.   We are free.

This weekend the barbeque grills are lit.  Fireworks unleashed throughout skies filled with red, blue and white lights from the edge of the Atlantic to the shores of Pacific.   Panoramic bursts resounding like cannon fire across the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Oh say can you see our flag that still flies free.   Compensation waged from valiant humans who look just like you and me.   Men and women.  Moms and Dads.   Heroes each one.  Thank you for the price you paid.  For me.  For everyone I love.  For each of us.

Happy birthday, America.

She’s a grand, Old Flag.  She’s a high flying flag, and forever in peace may she wave.