Virtual Voices

The cost of freedom

Over the course of this holiday weekend, scores of people will make their way to Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to the men and women who died for our country. America's most recent war casualties are found in Section 60, a place where WORLD's Mindy Belz notes that, "Permanent gravestones in the last few rows yield to temporary markers, their dates of death revealing soldiers killed in action only days before."

But it is their dates of birth that are more arresting: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987. These sons and daughters could be my sons and daughters, they could be my college-aged childrens' friends or one day their paramedic, their policeman, their childrens' favorite teacher or the buddy with all the good war stories.

David Christoff of Rossford, Ohio, did lose a son in Iraq: 25-year-old Marine Sgt. David Christoff Jr. "I wish that everyone in their lifetime could come here at least once," Christoff said while standing at his son's grave in Section 60. "You can see the cost of freedom. It's not free, by any means. These are all heroes. This is why we're free today. This is why my son was there."

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