Dennis E. Schroader Sr.

Founder, Price of Freedom Foundation

Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)

What does the price of freedom mean to you? I?m sure it has somewhat different meanings to different people. I?d really like to hear what you think it means.

Some folks I?ve spoken with say that everyone who serves in the military pays a price for our collective freedom. They chose to enter uniformed service. They give up some of the freedoms the American public enjoys. They undergo rigorous and sometimes dangerous training. They accept the fact that they may be asked to go into harm's way and put their lives at risk in performing their duties.

I spent the majority of my life preparing for or serving in the armed forces. For me, because I grew up in a Navy family, I considered it an honor to serve. In my view, the price of freedom is paid by my comrades at arms who actually gave their lives in service to our nation. They and their families.

My 24 years in the Army were spent as a Medical Service Corps officer. It was a support role, so I never saw combat. Even when conflicts arose, and I asked to be assigned to a unit that would deploy, I was never sent. My personal contact with soldiers who did die while in service was limited to two. Perhaps I?ll discuss those details in a future post. What is important to this message is that both were unexpected and shocking to me personally, their Army colleagues, and most certainly the families they left behind.

I started the Price of Freedom Foundation to address a need I see in those surviving families, in their colleagues, and in general public to a lesser extent. That need is acknowledgement of the terrible price their loved one paid when their life was lost. It is also acknowledgement of the price paid in grief the family and other loved ones continue to pay for the loss of their loved one.

Am I saying that no one acknowledges their loss? No, not at all. The military and other organizations do a lot to help those families in the weeks and months following the death. But many feel that the memory of their loved one is lost by society at large in the years as they pass.

The purpose of The Price of Freedom Foundation is to capture the memories and stories of the fallen to as great a degree as possible, organize them so anyone can get a good sense of who this person was ? their hopes, their dreams, their accomplishments, their struggles, and much, much more, and put that story of their life into a format that can last for many generations. Our intent is to have that complete life story in the hands of the family and friends, but also have it available to generations not yet born.

Can you picture it? Can you imagine in addition to the pictures, awards and medals, having a full biography, a hard cover book, that can be kept in a place of honor so the family can see and read whenever they want? Can you picture a mom or dad telling their young children about their relative who served and died for us? And they can point to the pictures as well as the book? I can. And it is what drives me.

I hope it inspires you to want to help with this cause too.

I invite you to let me know your thoughts. Call me or email me. I welcome your input.