Published on July 1st, 2012 | by mfrancese0
Price for Freedom
By: Christie Blecher
Fireworks exploding overhead versus roadside bombs exploding ahead, having a BBQ with family and closest friends versus playing Texas Hold’em with the platoon and eating Afghan food, wishing to have gone somewhere for the 4th of July versus wishing to come home safe to the wife and kids; these are the differences between an average American celebrating the 4th of July and a soldier serving the country abroad.
Although the United States has pulled many of our soldiers out Iraq, there are still many soldiers serving the United States in several other countries.
Sargent Steven Staley, a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, has served for over five years. During this time, he has served two tours overseas. He spent the first tour in Iraq and is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Two weeks before Staley left on his second tour, he got married. Staley’s wife, Kelly said about their brief newlywed life:
“It makes everything hard. Most people look forward to their wedding, but I was counting down the days the left I had with him. It was a mix of highs and lows. While you are in a happy moment, you have a flash of that you only have a few of these moments left.”
Staley replied, “The hardest part about being on tour is being away from family.”
While on tour, Staley recharges and relaxes by Skyping with Kelly. Kelly refers to these Skype sessions lovingly as “dates.”
For Staley, serving in the military is not simply a duty, but an honor, planning to stin the military for the long-haul.
“The most gratifying part of being in the military is getting to be a part of something a lot bigger than myself. I am a career soldier and I wish to be in the military for life because it helps me take care of my family while doing something I love.”
While other people partake in BBQs, parades, and fireworks displays, the 4th of July holds something different for Kelly.
“People often forget the meaning of the 4th of July. It is not a day simply to be with family and friends, but it is a day to remember what that freedom costs.”