Never Forgetting that Freedom Comes at a High Price

May 30, 2014

by S. Aaron ShamshoyanRemembering the sacrifices of others to establish and protect the liberty and freedom of America was the message from Lieutenant Phillip Stephens, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard chaplain, on Memorial Day.“Freedom is not free; it comes at a very high price that must be paid in full,” Stephens said at Veterans Memorial Common.Addressing a large crowd Monday, Stephens gave a brief history of Memorial Day, noting it began in 1868 per order of Major General Tom Logan, as a day to decorate fallen soldiers’ graves with flowers.

“It’s about honoring those that have paid that price,” Stephens said.  “There are those who gave before us who counted the cost and paid the price so that we can have freedom today.”

But it’s important to remember what others endured to create the freedoms the country currently enjoys.

“If our liberty is to last, then we too must remember what it took to get us here,” he said.  “These men and women today that we honor have let freedom ring.”

And Stephens said it has come at a very high price.  “Let us remember that they gave their lives to protect our freedom, and now you and I lust live our lives to preserve it.”

Selectman Patrick Hargreaves announced a plan to bring the traveling wall memorial wall to Salem in October.  The memorial is 80-percent the size of the Vietnam Memorial wall and also features the Afghanistan, World War I, World War II, Revolutionary War, Desert Storm, September 11, USS Poe, Beirut Bombing of 1981, Fire Department, and Police Department memorials.

“Visiting the wall will commence on October 16 and will end on October 19, and it’s free of charge to everybody,” Hargreaves said.  “This is something that we believe the Town of Salem needs to keep our veterans and our community together and involved with each other.”

Hargreaves is working to raise $18,000 to cover transportation costs to bring the memorial to town and noted it will be the first time it appears in New England.

Association Chaplain George MacLean gave the roll call of past years’ deceased veterans, and American Veterans Post 2 Commander Norman Bilodeau gave a salute to fallen comrades.

The Salem High School Band and Chorus performed patriotic songs during the event.