I believe that freedom comes with a price.

Samantha - Naples, Florida
Entered on May 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in freedom, freedom of choice, freedom of speech and freedom for women. But I mostly believe that freedom comes with a price.

My father is an American soldier in the National Guard and that came with a price. On Sept. 21st (3 days before my 17th birthday), I watched my father get on a plane that took him to Iraq and that would change our lives forever. I thought maybe I would see him in a year or so, or even worse, I would never see him again. I was crushed. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t want him to go. I didn’t want to have to worry all the time. I didn’t want to see him come back in a body bag.

The nights were long, I stayed up wondering, is he dead or alive. The thoughts raced through my mind at all times. It put a huge amount of stress on me, in school, with friends, and with family. But the worst thing was waiting for the three or four month delayed phones calls that I would pray to get and the long overdue emails that I would wait for what seemed like forever to receive.

When my father got back from Iraq, he was a different person. A person who didn’t sleep, was on edge constantly, didn’t take things for granted, had flash backs, breathing problems, and never felt normal. My grandfather was a three-war veteran. He also left a family behind and went through the same experiences that my dad was going through. My grandfather also came back a changed man. The day he got back from Vietnam he was taking three pills a day, and no one ever knew why. But 20 years later he died a slow and painful death from Agent Orange and mustard gas that filled his whole body up with cancer.

I believe war may be right or wrong, but my father and many other soldiers are the ones putting their lives on the line and their families are suffering too. I know that I will never get back the year and a half when my dad was gone, even the same dad I once knew. My grandfather will never have the opportunity to watch my brother and I grow up. But I guess that’s the price you pay for freedom, this I believe.