Freedom Isn’t Free

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I wrote this one year ago, I still believe every word, with every fiber of who I am.

240 years is the blink of an eye.

Regardless of the political arguments over how and why this country was founded and declared independence, it was, and remains to this day, an opportunity.

In the 39 years I have been alive, I have made more mistakes than anyone I know. There is the person I want to be, and the person I see in the mirror in the morning. It would be easy to focus only on my mistakes and shortcomings, but I do my best to judge others, and myself on the things I get right. No one, and nothing is perfect. To expect perfection from any nation is as unrealistic as expecting to navigate your entire life without making a wrong turn.

There is a reason those who die in the service of others are wrapped in our flag. Even if only for a moment, it is a reminder that they stood for the best of what this country can be. Selfless, brave, courageous, and most importantly, more than just individuals.

Honor is just a word, until it becomes a principle used to protect others.

Strength is a meaningless pursuit, until it is used to pick up others weaker than yourself.

Integrity is a concept, until it becomes the foundation of standing for what is right.

Courage is fleeting, until you find it, and turn to fight, regardless of the outcome.

Compassion is unknown, until you experience bending a knee instead of breaking a back.

If you leave our flag out in gail force winds, it will weaken, and eventually unravel. It is the sum total of its threads, and only as strong as the stitches that bind them.

Apart, the pieces of our flag, and who we are as a country have no meaning. Together, bound tightly, it represents the best of humanity, and unlimited possibility. We can be a beacon of hope.

OPPORTUNITY…. We can be who we want, as individuals and society. We CAN become the nation we want to be, it is our choice. That, is INDEPENDENCE.

Happy 4th of July….

7 thoughts on “Freedom Isn’t Free

  1. Since buying your old house where you and your family left those 3 words above the front door, “Freedom Isn’t Free,” my family and I have lived those words every day. Thank you for your continued inspiration and god bless you and your family.

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  2. Well said! One can never know of standing for what we warriors believe in until they’ve been in a hostile environment!

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  3. I was in America for my first time just before the Covid 19 lockdown. In packed bars and restaurants in down town New Orleans mingling with the Mardi Gras revellers. All of us enjoying a freedom we would soon be denied. Driving about during the day I would see many American flags flying from the front porches of grand and humble homes alike even in the Projects. It moved me & I thought “that’s odd this isn’t my flag.” We don’t do that in the same way here in England.
    A sudden crisis might deny us freedom but it may also jolt us to remember the values that colour the fibres of our freedoms. However I have a concern we over here have forgotten the “lest we forget” not of our fallen but of our founding values. Our union is tearing apart and no one remembers Jack.

    I really like you Mr Stumpf and I am in awe of your superhero power “idiot” or humility as it is classically known. Great things will come from you this year and going forward you can really help the world. Everything that has happened to you is for now you’re called to this and it’s the greatest mission of your life next to your wife & kids. Stay humble and create capacity to be filled & used. You really are onto something. Stay small don’t be an idiot.

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