Freedom Isn’t Free

When I was a little girl, we always recognized and celebrated Memorial Day. As a child, I thought I knew what we were celebrating, even though my focus was on one event that was the most important to me. Which was the end of the school year. I hated school. I always did, which is ironic that I ended up being a life-long learner as well as earning a Master’s Degree in physical therapy just 3 months shy of my 40th birthday.

But as an adult I fully understand the incredible sacrifices that have been made by ordinary people who did extraordinary things to allow me the freedom and the ability to make some of the choices that I have made in my life. The freedom that we so often take for granted. The kind of freedom that people have fought and died for over the course of over 243 years. 

It boggles my mind to think about the tremendous amount of courage and determination that drove the founders of this great nation, the men and women, who were willing to put everything on the line for freedom. Their lives, their homes, their families. And the courage that makes the few that answer the call–the call to serve.

For me. For you. For all of us. Every Memorial Day, as we enjoy a 3-day weekend with picnics, cook-outs, beach trips and volleyball, I take a few minutes to  get down on my knees and thank God for my freedom. Then I look at the sky and say to all of those fallen heroes, “Well done. And thank you for my freedom.”

Because as we all know, freedom comes at a high price. Freedom isn’t free. And it never will be.

How Would You Answer The Call to Serve?

How would you answer the call to serve? I recently had the opportunity to answer that question for myself, when I was called to report to jury duty. Oh, I’ve been called before. Actually, I have been called many times over the years. However, I have never been selected to serve. I’ve never even made it close enough to be interviewed as a possible juror. Who in their right mind would ever pick me as a juror? I have a look on my face that screams “GUILTY!”

I simply can’t help it. My face is an open book, and the pages read “GUILTY!” So, I wasn’t too concerned when I received the summons to report for jury duty early in January. I just rolled my eyes, marked my calendar, and resolved myself that a Monday morning would be wasted. I don’t see clients on Mondays, so it wouldn’t impact my business. It would, however, keep my from going to ballet class that morning, but I supposed I could deal with that.

Imagine my dismay when I received another summons to report for jury duty in February, just 4 weeks after I had to report for County Court. This time the summons was for Federal Court, and it was for an entire month! How in the world was I going to manage that? I’m self-employed. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Even worse, I received the summons on Christmas Eve.

I texted my attorney. I asked her how they could do this to me, and if it was legal to require a citizen to report to jury service twice in 4 weeks. Her advice was to appeal (so to speak) to County Court, as they might take pity on me. Then she advised me to buy a lottery ticket.

I was in full-blown panic mode. Although I was certain I wouldn’t be picked as a juror, there was no way I could manage my business and take care of my clients while I was at the beck and call of the Federal government for 4 weeks. It would ruin my business.

Much to my dismay, I was picked to serve on a jury for a trial that was scheduled to last 3 weeks. As I raised my right hand to take the oath, I was so nervous and upset I was afraid I would throw up, pass out, or wet my pants. I also realized that I was being asked to do something that was so much bigger than myself, and my petty concerns. This was going to be an incredible sacrifice, not only for me, but for the 13 strangers standing along side me.

I didn’t know how I was going to get through the next 3 weeks. But I did know that there were millions of Americans  over the years who sacrificed a lot more than 3 weeks in service to our country. It helped me put things into perspective, and made me almost honored, and most definitely humbled, to serve. The next 3 weeks proved to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride.

And when it was all over, I was proud of myself, my fellow jurors, and the judicial system that each and everyone of us are a part of, whether we want to be or not. That’s how I answered the call to serve. God Bless America!