By Tobias (Toby) Wilderoffer

I walk through the graveyard. I know not to run. It's a perfect sunny day, but it sure doesn't feel like one. It's Memorial Day, and I am here to pay tribute to all of the brave men and women who have died for me. For my freedom. They have fought to make sure that we and no one else can control how we live. I stop at each grave, reading what was inscribed on the stone. What their names were. What rank they were. How long each of them lived. I lay the symbol of freedom, the flag of America, along with some flowers on each stone, thinking about each person, and honoring their memory because they died for this generation. So we all could be free. I myself am a military family, and it's heart breaking every time I see my dad go, knowing that he could come back badly injured, or never make it back at all. I think about how the families of these people, lying underground, completely still, feel. Do they feel sad? Mad? They may feel sad, but they know that their family member died for our country. I have not experienced this feeling, but I have to feel sorry for the people who have. They have paid the costs of freedom.

One of these costs is deployment. Deployment is when some military members go away for who knows how long to another state or country because they are needed there. I have had deployment happen to my family many times. My dad has been gone for 22 months total. It's hard when one of your parents is gone. Believe me, I know. The other parent must take on all responsibility, and sometimes it may be hard for him or her to take are of the whole family all by himself or herself. It can be hard on kids too. Sometimes you want your parents and nothing can replace them. And when you go to bed at night, you think about where they are, what they are doing, are they hurt, and how long until they come back. I have felt like this many times, and some times it leaves me in tears. I just want my dad, and I want him now. Deployment is one of the many costs of freedom.

Another of the many costs of freedom is that military families have to move a lot. Sure, some things may be good, like sightseeing and all that, but you have to give up so much! Your friends, your neighbor, your house, sometimes your car, and all of the familiarity of the current base you live on. Just to go to a strange new place where you don’t know anyone! Sometimes you don't even know why your parent is needed there! They’ve survived before without your mom or dad doing something for them! Why are they needed now, after all that you’ve been through at your old home? Moving isn't a terrible cost, but it’s still a cost of freedom.

While these are difficult challenges, dying, in my opinion, is the most you could ever do for your country. If you fall in combat, at least you have fallen in honor of America. Although nothing will replace their losses, those brave warriors have courageously fought for our country. In addition to grieving for them when they pass on, the U.S. military honors these warriors after they have fallen in battle with the Purple Heart. These unselfish people have worked, fought, and lost their lives for our country. Dying for your country is the ultimate cost of freedom.

As I continue through the military graveyard, seeing the graves of all the dead soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and guardsmen, I realize that people need to know something. Freedom is not free. It is not something to be given. It is something to be earned. These fearless warriors have earned our freedom for us. We must let people know that they can’t take this privilege lightly. They can't just have all this freedom and sit there and do nothing. Even if they can’t fight, they can still honor those who have. They can still think about all the people who have risked and lost their lives for freedom, and at the very least send a silent "thank you". We all can and will appreciate those who have been in many wars and have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom, because this is the time to honor those dead fighters. This is Memorial Day.

by Lanie Lissner

Have you ever loved something so much that you would do anything to keep it, even die for it? Many men and women risk their lives everyday to protect what they love, the United states of America. America's troops risk their lives and make many sacrifices for the U.S.A. These heroes can lose out on events such as missing their child's birth and even risk coming home without a limb. Our troops work very hard to pay the cost of freedom.

Hero. When I hear that word, I, like many of you, think of Batman and Superman, but who ever said that all heroes have to wear capes? After reality kicks in, you'll realize that there are not men in blue tights and red capes to come save the day. Instead there are men and women in military uniforms and combat boots ready to defend our country. The military does have weapons, outfits, and technology, but that does not make them heroes. You can have all of these things, but you will still need something more: heart. It takes a lot of heart and courage to be willing to go into a combat zone overseas and fight. Some people may believe it is not true, but it is: NO HEART equals NO HERO.

Imagine meeting your newborn baby for the first time on a screen through a video chat. Its small, fragile body is sleeping a million miles away from you. You don't know if your child will know who you are when you get home. There are others who do not get a chance to meet their child at all. We remember that these soldiers were not putting their family second in their lives. They were probably putting them first by giving them a safer future.

What would you do if every time you looked down at your arm or leg and it was not there or was replaced by a prosthetic? Military troops can suffer from this kind of loss. It is a heart-breaking sight and an even more heart-breaking story. It takes courage I can't even begin to imagine.

What is the cost of freedom? It is to have to build heart and courage to become a hero? It is missing your children uncontrollably. It is about heart-breaking stories that only the bravest can hear? Thank you to all of our past, present, and future soldiers who dedicate their lives to the cost of freedom.


T. B. McGuire Memorial Foundation Honors the Heroes

On a perfect day, May 24th 2012, at the P-38 (Pudgy) Monument Circle, the Foundation co-sponsored the 28th Annual Memorial Parade of Wreaths, with an array of community organizations participating in the traditional commemoration of those in both military and NJ State Police who have fallen in the line of duty.


The solemn ceremony included the five services which call the joint base, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst their home: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.



Speakers of the day included Brigadier General Scott P. Goodwin, Commandant of the Air Force Expeditionary Center; Deputy Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel Matthew M. Wilson of the New Jersey State Police; and highlighted the winners of the Essay Contest, sponsored by the T. B. McGuire Memorial Foundation, for 5th and 6th graders of the North Hanover Upper Elementary School. Their topic was "The Cost of Freedom". The 5th Grade winner was Amira Faulker, and the 6th Grade winner was Brandon Kuhl. Both students read their winning essays to the audience during the commemorative ceremony. Copies of the essays will be available on this site shortly.

The school choir performed several inspiring renditions which stirred emotions of the audience.


Following their performance, a formation of Marine Corp helicopters thrilled everyone with a synchronized flyover.


Following the Benediction, the Visitors and Guests were treated to the sometimes haunting strains of bagpipes. The Bagpipe Brigade was graciously presented by the New Jersey State Police, who perform regularly at various ceremonies.