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The Price of Liberty

Updated on March 8, 2016

True Soldier

A 19 Year Old Seargent

My father was born on Veterans Day, which seems fitting for a man who spent the majority of his life as a soldier. At only 12 years old, he volunteered to go to military school and at eighteen, while many young American men were looking to avoid the draft, my father once again volunteered for combat infantry in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, he served two tours with the highly decorated, First Cavalry Division from 1966-68, during which time he earned several battlefield promotions, serving his second tour as Platoon Sargent.

In June of 1967, his unit was on patrol when they were ambushed and began taking on heavy gunfire. As they were pulling back, he stepped on what they called a "toe popper", which was similar to a land mine, but designed to simply injure ad remove enemy soldiers from the front lines of action. When the mine detonated, it blew my father's big toe clean off.

A man who always had a great way with words, he once told me that he watched his toe skyrocket up in the air, landing about 20 feet in front of him. "the NVA were hot on our ass, so I kept running toward the spot where I saw my big toe land". One of the perceptions I always had of my dad was that one of the reasons he was so good at what he did was because he was able to take the pain. There's really no other way to look at it, especially when you know that after having his toe blown off, my dad just kept running toward the spot where it landed; never loosing stride, he simply leaned down and picked his toe up off the ground and kept running to toward the helicopter that was waiting to fly them the hell out of there. As they were taking off he handed the medic his big toe and shouted "sew that fucker back on!" That part never failed at giving me a good laugh.

A Patriot At Heart

As an Army brat, our family traveled a lot. Whether it was Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. McClellan, Alabama or Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, the combat boot my father was wearing the day he had his big toe blown off always sat in his study. Captured forever in an enshrinement of bronze the hole in the toe of the boot neatly displayed a souvenir belt and red starred buckle he took off of an NVA officer he had killed. There was also a small hole made in the side of the boot that had been caused by shrapnel from the blast. From that small hole, the Purple Heart he received for the injury hung neatly. I'll always remember that boot, mostly because it was something I was very proud of throughout my life.

My dad wasn't a show off and he never bragged about the things that he did. The boot wasn't some macho display of misguided self-confidence or some war trophy he would talk about with his friends. It was simply a reminder that the enemy is sneaky, and if he wasn't more careful, the enemies elusiveness can get you killed.

My father was tough. So tough that bullet holes and land mines weren't enough to stop the guy. He could take the pain and fight through it. He was a vestige warrior who left it all on the battlefield. He didn't carry regrets about killing the enemy. That part never really bothered him. The only part that ever got to him was watching his friends around him die in battle. That said, in the end, he always handled it pretty good.

The respect and admiration I have for my father comes from witnessing his selfless courage, brave sacrifice and uncommon valor. He was a man of honor which always gave me something to aspire to. What he did, he did for his country and for the guys fighting next to him in battle. None more evident than the events that took place in January of 1968.

Just weeks before his scheduled discharge date, my father's battalion was one of many involved in the Tet offensive. It was during this battle that my father took a bullet in the chest, yet still managed to pull three wounded soldiers to safety. He was lucky. The bullet that hit him was a "tracer round" which entered in through his upper right chest and exited out his upper right shoulder. Being it was a tracer round that him, meant that the magnesium burned off around the bullet hole, cauterizing the wound shut. He saved all three men's lives that day and for his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star and the second of three Purple Hearts.

My father's bravery and love of country is something that became a part of me. It's something I will forever be thankful for because it helped me become the man that I am today. He taught me about survival, staying strong in tough situations. He taught me discipline and the importance of staying humble. The lessons and advice he gave were always based on reality and the truth of things and he always made sure to point out when I wasn't being aware of what was going around me.

After Vietnam, he decided he wanted to join Special Operations. At the time, the Green Berets were considered the most elite, best trained soldiers in the world. They knew everything there was to know about guerrilla warfare, counter-terrorism, explosives, hand to hand combat, intelligence, counter-espionage, and anything else considered covert tactics or highly classified. My father turned out to be one of Army's best.

In 1983, President Reagan, Vice-President Bush and CIA Director William Casey decided to start their own little private war in Central America. Technically, what they did was illegal. President Reagan did not have the full authority of Congress to go to war, but that wasn't going to stop him. He was determined to end the Cold War right along with the US governments association with then Panamanian President, Manuel Noriega.

Rather than launching a full scale invasion, the White House decided to recruit the very best soldiers the Army could offer and send them into the jungles of Central America to covertly train the Honduran Contras to fight the communist Sandanista's of Nicaragua.

In all of the CIA's inquiries with Army Brass as they searched to find the right soldier to lead the operation, it was my dad that continuously came recommended. In the spring of 1984, two CIA officials went to Camp McCall, North Carolina where my dad was posted as an instructor, training Green Berets to be Green Berets. They were sent there to recruit my dad. It take much convincing. My father agreed to lead two 8 man teams into Central America.

For the next six months, he spent most of the time preparing. Part of conventional warfare is to blend into society and live among the people undetected. He and his unit would have to live among the local population and appear as though they were native to the area. Therefore, he learned to speak Spanish, he grew a mustache, and the length of his hair was definitely longer than what Army regulations allow. By the time he left, he spoke like and looked like a Mexican.

The government reserved the entire top floor of the Sheraton Hotel in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and for the next two years it would serve as their home base. The men reported to my dad and my dad reported to some CIA official. They were assigned two missions. The first was to covertly lead two teams into the jungles of Honduras to train the Contras in guerrilla warfare to fight the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Of course, that was the unclassified official story for the Newsweek and Time magazine reporters.

The second mission, and highly classified at the time, had much to do about disrupting cocaine supply routes, pissing off Pablo Escobar and tightening the noose around Manuel Noriega's neck. It's all pretty much common knowledge now. Nevertheless, that's all I'm going to say about that.

After two years in the jungles of Central America, he received a presidential accommodation from Ronald Reagan for the first mission and a CIA challenge coin for the second. Both were considered successfully accomplished missions.

Honor & Duty to Country

In 1990, when Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussein, I gave up a promising career in the music industry to serve my country, without regret. My family history reads like a "Patriotic Magnum Opus", as my great-grandfather, my grandfather, and my dad all volunteered to serve in wars that their country needed soldiers to fight in.

My great grandfather fought in the terribly violent battles of trench warfare in WWI, my grandfather flew planes in WWII and Korea, my dad in Vietnam, and I went off to war in 1990, joining the Navy, serving onboard the USS Arleigh Burke.

The four of us have several things in common. We all volunteered to fight for America and we all survived the wars we fought in. Yet in retrospect, I believe the most important thing we shared was our belief that what we were fighting for a cause that's worth believing in. We believed in the Constitution and defending the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.

All three are gone now, buried with honors after living full and productive lives that anyone would be proud of. I take comfort in knowing that they look down on me, and they are proud that I have taken up the cause of defending liberty. Even more, that I do this without the stripes of a uniform as my motivation.

I was raised to believe, and will always believe, that within the undivided principles of liberty, there resides the spirit of America's founders, declaring our republic and its people free to live unabated, under the protection of inherent and inalienable rights. From the selfless sacrifice of duty, and the blood spilled by patriots, our civil privilege and liberty are protected within the framework of the constitution.

As Americans, we live in a culture of established individual rights that allows us all to express ourselves through freedom of speech or by written words that reveal and express truth without fear of censorship. They are self evident and true, defined by our individual freedom to practice one’s faith, without intervention or jurisprudence.

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Our Liberty Was Supposedly Bought and Paid For

Just as we are protected to petition authority, or start a movement through a peaceful civil disobedience, we are assured life and liberty. Countless brave soldiers have stood in defense of the constitution, and did so because they believed that freedom affords people discretion, and gives them the rights by which they may freely choose. Choosing a path that leads them toward what they were born to be, which is free and independent!

As soldiers, we may not agree with a certain cause, but we will sacrifice our lives to defend your right to stand and protest in the name of that cause. Out of respect for those who have laid down their lives defending freedom, we as citizens owe it to ourselves and our country to respect such values. We honor those who have fallen, by holding onto our traditions and heritage.

It's true that America has a history of ugly and vicious acts. We are not perfect, but nothing in this world is. What we have are mistakes we can learn from and continue moving forward, not in fear of our past, but rather, for what inspires us to live in peace with our fellow citizens.

There are no laws, no actions or no social movement that can ever change the balance of good and evil. We are grounded in our tradition and history, and we are a proud culture of various ethnicity's and backgrounds. We should be encouraged by our diversity, rather than fearing it's existence. Our heritage is our strength, and that strength is sanctified in American independence and earned through sacrifice and war.

What Do We Have To Lose?

Our way of life stands at the precipice of collapse. I say this not as a fear monger or conspiracy theorist who has been seriously misinformed. I say this as an advocate of freedom, who just so happens to have a college education and knows a thing or two about political science, economics and sociology. I have a solid understanding of finance, social ambiguity and our failed republic, turned democracy. What I am about to tell you may shock you or hopefully, enlighten you.

Our survival depends upon the legitimacy of our currency, our citizens and the objectivity of government. If our politicians have no accountability and are not serving our best interests, but rather ruling over us from a corrupt political culture, then our way of life and our freedom stands at risk of being lost.

If we as citizens have no obligations to social responsibility and we live without any moral inclination, than our way of life is put at risk. When the money we earn and what we invest in has no value, except for the paper it's printed on, than we all are at risk of losing what millions of soldiers have died defending.

Every war this nation has ever fought will have all been fought for nothing. American freedom and the way of life we have enjoyed for 240 years will come to an end, as liberty in America will certainly fail.

The Unsanctioned Sacrifice

Blame it on Democracy

It requires pragmatic thought to understand such an ideology, but you have to remember that democracy is fragile. Although grounded in the principles of freedom, justice and prosperity, democracy is subject to question, change, corruption and even failure. This is our dilemma and the state in which we all currently face as American citizens.

Historically, all democratic societies eventually deteriorate, and many cases experience social, economic and political collapse. For free and open societies, the effects of democratic failure has severe implications for its citizens.

The political philosophers in ancient Greece were undecided when it came to democracy. The Greek aristocracy wanted to preside over their own affairs. They had much to lose if an oppressive tyrant leveraged power against the freedom of its people.

Democratic principles were loosely implemented into the rule of law by the European monarchies. The royal families hoarded all the wealth they could and simply hoped for a king that could control the people while exercising sufficient wisdom to preserve and protect the classes of nobility.

The internal reservations over democracy were passed along throughout the centuries to eventually translate into a revised version of a "Republic". It was a coalition of enlightened thinkers, businessmen and wealthy land owners in Western Europe who realized the vast opportunity America presented and decided that a democracy was a bad idea for government in the new world of opportunity.

In time, these enlightened men, with names such as Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, removed the monarchs from authority and decided America would be a Republic. They wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights to ensure human rights and to guarantee our civil liberties, through protection behind the rules of constitutional law.

America was conceived as a republic, with the idea that the Bill of Rights and the Amendments of the Constitution would define the birthright of everyone born to its citizenship.

Who Started All The Trouble?

Where we stand today as a nation, we are without any sense of social or economic responsibility. Our government has been corrupted by wealth and a society without any moral aptitude, the indignation of the middle class can take comfort in knowing that they never had a chance.

Our economic prosperity was lost a hundred years ago. If you doubt my words as truth, I beg you to research the archives of Congress for December 23, 1913, and you will learn how once again the entitled class of the world's elite decided that their wealth was too much to lose because to American capitalism.

Corrupted By Wealth

The world's most powerful multi-billionaires were not willing to risk losing even a portion of their wealth to a democratic system of government with a capitalist economy. The world's richest billionaires are socialist's. They prefer the economic system of communism or socialism because it allows them to distribute wealth as they see fit, while keeping more for themselves.

Capitalism keeps the playing field competitive, limiting the elites advantages which gets in the way of them being able to steal more from us and keep more for themselves. Don't get me wrong, American capitalism has had it's fair share of crooked businessmen and corrupt politicians who have abused the cracks the system. By design, it leaves itself vulnerable to those who would exploit it through its the various flaws.

Nonetheless, after several previous attempts to subvert the US government and take control of its self-sustaining free enterprise profitability, the worlds richest billionaires with names like Carnegie and Rockefeller and the rest of the socialist elites finally got their way and took possession of American prosperity on December 23, 1913.

That was the day they convinced President Woodrow Wilson that the American economy was better off if they were the ones controlling it. They tricked Wilson into believing that abolishing the gold standard was the only way the American economy would ever flourish.

Since that fateful day in American history, our economy has been held hostage, free-falling through a never-ending cycle of un-payable debt. Instead of gold backing every dollar in circulation, the value of the American economy became loans on government bonds, issued by the FED. Ultimately, the World Bank, controls the FED and the World Bank is controlled by the socialist elites.

Our fate was sealed when Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, forever changing any intent the framers of the constitution had for American freedom and economic prosperity.

You can read Wilsons memoirs in any number of publications. The cost to do so is about 10 dollars but you also pay the price of trading your happiness in for truth. Wilson wrote, “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

To learn one our presidents wrote such things reminds me of the words spoken by men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington who all gave warning that if the American economy was ever subverted by rich bankers, the American economy would certainly fail, leading to the end of American freedom.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said it best when he warned that "even a republic, with a constitution defined by democratic ideas, cannot guarantee the limitations it imposes on the government, nor will those limitations be respected by those who have been elected to serve, and it does not guarantee the people will be served according to the principles of justice it upholds".

We The People

Under our current form of government, equality has been used to create racism and promote political correctness into killing our freedom of speech. Freedom and civil rights have been ignored on the basis that we must stay vigilant and aggressive due to the possibility of terrorism. That same justification has been translated into a policy that suspects every American citizen represents a possible threat to the government.

Our group consensus, choice and opposition are open for scrutiny by federal authorities who have bought into, and then sold us, the lies that politicians have sold them. The hard work and sacrifice of our ancestors has lost its meaning. The challenges we have overcome today are now without value or purpose.

Where risk meets reward is a place suffocated by debt, and preservation of the greater good no longer outweighs the greed of the rich as they live in their moment of bliss. Conducive to the principles of liberty, the idea and vision of democracy no longer allow us the freedom to be skeptical.

To love your country, must be accompanied by a fear of government, and if not, then where do you stand when that moment arrives and you have to ask yourself: Do I want to live with freedom? Or do I live as a slave to injustice, corrupt courts, misguided rules of equality and subjective cultural values that give reason to question how anyone could accept such immoral standards of citizenship?

That's where we're heading folks. It's a hard pill to swallow, but very soon we will all be subjected to reorientation without any hope for a reprieve. Behave within the new rules of social acceptability and abide within the guidelines of proper new age etiquette. Forget the spirit of constitutional laws. They no longer apply!

The civil rights and freedoms we share as humans today are slipping fast into the abyss. I recommend you put on your seat belt. The ride to the bottom is going to get bumpy. Nevertheless, when we all reach the bottom, there will lie the machine. A reconstructed version of government with an iron-fist authority that calls the shots, controlling us in the coming New World Decree.

It seems the blood we spilled as soldiers didn't pay for the freedoms we fought for. I guess our Republic was never real, just someone's wet dream. After all that we sacrificed, such a tragic end to a perfect idea. It seems Jefferson was right. Our Constitution was never absolute at all.

Let Me Know Your Opinion

Is American Freedom on the Verge of Collapse?

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    • James Gaskins profile imageAUTHOR

      The Daily Conservative 

      3 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I appreciate your support.

    • profile image

      Mark Kelley 

      3 years ago from Arizona

      I agree. If this guy's dad was even half of what he described, I sure wouldn't want to mess with him. Them Green Berets are some tough and lethal weapons. I really liked his thoughts on the FED and Woodrow Wilson. Most people are totally unaware of what all that really means and the implications it's had on all of us. This article is very well written and it gives you some interesting insight that only he would know, which makes it a unique read. Good job James! I hope to read more like this. Passion is hard to find in writing these days, but I can tell you put your heart into it.

      Mark Kelly

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Excellent Hub, James! Very well written, sir!



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