Freedom Isn’t Free
For the past four years, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, I’ve held a special contest just for military families. When I worked in field recruiting for a local college here in New York, I encountered several of our veterans and their families. I was struck by the unwavering devotion of the soldiers’ families and it dawned on me that our military is made up of more than just individual soldiers. Our military is made up of American families and I wanted to do something to honor them.
I decided to hold a contest for the families of our military members—active duty or retired. I wanted to give these wives, husbands, children and parents a voice and a forum for them to express their love, appreciation and sometimes frustrations that come with being a military family.
The stories they sent were compelling, heartbreaking, and undeniably moving. While they all come from various backgrounds, races or religions, one thing remains constant—these families make sacrifices every single day so that our country remains free.
Their husbands/wives/mothers/fathers/daughters/sons are away from home and risking their lives so that we can barbeque on the Fourth of July or carve that turkey on Thanksgiving. However, more often than not, the families of our soldiers celebrate without their loved ones and many of them have endured more holidays apart than together.
Since I started this contest, I’ve had the privilege to develop Facebook friendships with some of the gals that I’ve featured on the blog. It’s been wonderful to see their families reunited with their soldiers and it’s always a relief to see them return safely home. Their stories are a vivid reminder that freedom isn’t free and there is always a price to be paid.
You can see the 2012 winners on my blog here.
I’ll be opening the 2013 contest up for entries on 1/2/13. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, I pick a semi-finalist every week and that family is featured on my blog. Then I announce the three winners on Labor Day weekend. If you, or anyone you know, is part of a military family and would like to submit their story, they can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and put 5th Annual U.S. Military Family Contest in the subject line.
Thank you to all of our military and their families!
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