After participating in last year's "Cost of Freedom" Weekend, I believe we all came away with a deeper appreciation for our U.S. Armed Forces, our servicemen and women, the folks that stand in the gap, protecting our freedoms. Not that these men and women weren't deeply admired and loved before, but last year added a profound human perspective. Our honored guests, wounded or injured, were so young, and so real, as each of you took them in as family. Denis, Dan, and Carlos were men of no regrets and warriors who would do it again if asked. They exemplified the core values that we used to define our weekend - honor, courage, and commitment. They did their job, and they did it well. Jessica and Kate could easily relate and articulate the "cost of freedom" having stood by the side of their loved ones, watching their recovery, hoping and praying for the best, not knowing the outcome in advance. They all took care of each other, left no man behind, and now it is our time again to take care of them and to expand "the family." I am incredibly proud to be a part of the 27th Company, Class of 1972, the "cold war warriors" for vigorously taking on this patriotic weekend of appreciation.
To "never forget" is a pretty bold statement in an age when "time waits for no man." Just think back to our days in Bancroft Hall, when we would be listening to our hi-fi's and 45 rpm's, only to have them replaced by 8-track recorders. Our kids have no clue what we are talking about. It is our responsibility to preserve and protect that which is precious to us, and I believe that keeping the memories alive and honoring our servicemen is a duty that we must hand down to our children's children, lest it be forgotten. The "cost of freedom" is priceless. Ask Marianna Winchester, mother of 1st Lt Ron Winchester, or the parents and loved ones of over 3900 other young men and women who stood in harm's way only to return as a memory. "We must never forget." That is the challenge before us. Let the flickering of a candle be a constant reminder of the lives that we celebrate, memorialize, and honor, fully knowing how easily it can all be whisked away. These are the heroes who need to be remembered, the ones that "made a difference" in our lives because they lived and they chose to serve.
— Bob Madden