It all started back in 2004, when four 1972 classmates from the Naval Academy's 27th Company, after struggling for years to find good seats below the upper edge of the upper decks of the Army-Navy game, were united in a 50 yard line skybox suite built for royalty. Thank you Paul Huck! Even our wives loved us again and remarked how Army-Navy games are such a great place to be. Totally brimming with our new found fortune and desire to make this our legacy, the guilt associated with "why us?" took over and our "plebian heritage" demanded that we celebrate a life more Spartan, typical military. The crucible of making it through plebe year together, surviving the military, physical, academic, and social (or lack thereof) storms of USNA life just took hold of our inner fiber. Collectively, our heads said it was so right for us, yet our hearts knew the suite should have been reserved for "real royalty." After all, it was 2004, in the midst of a "war on terror," a time when our young men and women were returning to the states with wounds both obvious and hidden, and others were not returning at all, a nagging reminder of yesteryear at USNA. Our returning Veterans were the deserving members of the royal court and the seats associated with that tribute.
During our four years at the Academy, we witnessed too much of the Vietnam War. Decorating Memorial Hall with the names of prior graduates of our esteemed University who made the ultimate sacrifice brought the war to us at a very conscious level. It was a trying time in our nation's history and it was certainly an unpopular war – but is any war popular? There was also a total lack of respect given our returning Soldiers and Marines from Vietnam, and that apathy was epidemic. There was no reaching out to our veterans, the one's that made incredible sacrifices and returned scarred, ruined, or in a box. The Cold War Warriors of Class of 1972, remembering those troubling times, recognized the responsibility we as a nation had to pay homage to those that have protected our nation's greatest treasure – freedom. The bells of freedom rang loudly in our ears, as did the words to "Navy Blue and Gold" sung at the end of every Army-Navy game with words that honor "sailor men in battle fair" and we needed to do something about it. Whatever stirred us, it was unanimous. We needed to give up our seats of gold to more deserving men and women; folks coming back from the front lines, harm's way, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who knew more about honor, courage, and commitment than any of their civilian counterparts, because they lived it and were alongside many who died for it. These men and women "all gave some, and some gave all" never to return. It seemed like a no brainer. Giving up our seats was hardly a sacrifice – we knew the meaning of sacrifice and this certainly did not qualify.
The skybox sponsor had no problem with us giving up our seats to some special deserving young men and women, who did understand "sacrifice" but as fate would turn a giving into a receiving, the four classmates were offered additional seats to accompany the new "honored guests" and the game turned into a three day weekend honoring our nation's finest. And as the five loaves and two fish fed 5000, the initial eight seats have expanded to a weekend for close to 100 combined honored guests and caring community and have given birth to an organization now known as Cost of Freedom, Inc., beginning a new chapter in the lives of the classmates of 27th Company.