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What is the real cost?

This item originally appeared in the March 24, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

War is not the American dream.

Freedom embodies America. Freedom of speech, freedom from religious persecution. Freedom to support the president or disagree with him. Freedom to live unfettered, to go where the wind may blow, to live any life in any dream in any time. This is America.

To say freedom costs may be trite, but true, whether or not the cost is lives.

Though war is no part of the American dream, there comes a time when it is imperative to the survival and continuance of those things we, as Americans, value. When there is any threat of danger from any shore, America answers. Our nation's children fly away to fight for and protect the freedoms this country enjoys.

An American citizen can disagree with the president. A citizen can dislike war. The citizen can be vocal about such things. He has that freedom.

Those who fight on foreign soil keep American soil safe. There was war to begin freedom. There was war, brother against brother, to give those freedoms to all. Never again has war touched the soil of the American mainland. Attacks or acts of terrorism are met with a swift hand of retribution. Americans do not give up without a fight.

It is how the country began.

The cost of war is rarely a slight one. Military and civilian lives are lost. Funds are depleted in the search for better technology and more weapons. The buildings and surrounding lands are ravaged through battle. Debts are incurred in war, debts to allies who loan money, men and weapons. Debts are owed to those who serve, those who leave families and friends to fight in foreign lands.

The cost of war is high, Tech has learned again.

Students often have spouses, family and friends keeping, or creating, peace in foreign lands. Our friends leave their everyday lives behind. They put down their books and pick up their guns and march away to protect the freedoms of their classmates. It is their choice. They have that freedom.

No one likes war. Democrats do not want to go to war. Republicans do not want to go to war. War is the reality, though, as much as it hurts.

Tech recently lost one of her sons, commissioned in the fight for freedom. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Olivier was killed by a roadside blast in Baghdad. The 2002 Tech graduate was 26 years old.

Olivier will not return to his new wife and raise a family with her. There will be no more nights with the guys. Olivier's friends said he died doing what he loved. He was a true American soldier, they said, a hero. We agree. The cost is indeed high.

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