"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Cost of My Freedom

               We were living at Fort Lewis, Washington when the call came. We had lived there for seven months and my husband, Larry, and I were expecting our first child in three months.
SFC William T. John
               My Daddy was career Army so our family had moved every three years since I was born. One unusual occurrence happened over and over to our family and one other family. We met this family in Okinawa, Japan.  The Beery’s then received orders to go to Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. The next year, we got orders for the same place. When we left Germany with orders for Fort Gordon, Georgia, we left Bob and Angie and their kids behind. Daddy remained assigned to Fort Gordon over the next ten years, only away for one-year assignments every couple of years. In September, 1970, Daddy went to Vietnam.
                Larry returned from Vietnam in March, 1970, with orders for Fort Lewis, Washington. I happily discovered Bob and Angie were stationed at Fort Lewis. It was so nice to know we had friends waiting when we arrived at our destination – 3,000 miles away from home.
               On December 17, 1970, Angie called to tell me that something had happened to Daddy and I needed to call home. Momma had called her so I wouldn’t have to learn the bad news over the phone, but Angie couldn’t bring herself to be the messenger of such devastating news.
Compiled by
Steven John
               I called home and asked, “What’s happened to Daddy? Is he alright?” Momma’s reply was, “Cathy, your Daddy’s dead. Didn’t Angie tell you?” I can still hear her saying those words every time I think about that day.
               The rest of the day was spent on the phone with the airlines.  It was so near Christmas all the flights were at near capacity. Once the agent knew our situation, she bent over backwards to try to get us home. We finally settled on a route from Seattle to San Francisco to Atlanta to Augusta, every leg leading us closer to home.
               On flight day we landed in San Francisco a little late and missed our connecting flight to Atlanta. Again, the airline showed compassion and drove us to a hotel for the night and picked us up the next morning in time for the new flight they had booked us on, all at their expense. We finally made it to Atlanta. The departure gate we needed was on the other side of the airport and we had limited time to get there. We must have looked like cartoon characters as a pregnant woman carrying her blue Samsonite train case was pulled along by a man trying to get both of them to the gate on time. By the grace of God we made it and landed at Bush Field in Augusta after traveling for two days and hop scotching our way across the United States.
               Daddy’s body arrived at Bush Field a week after his death. Larry met the flight and escorted Daddy to the funeral home. He viewed Daddy first and gave the okay for the rest of the family to see him. The Army had done a great job of preparing Daddy’s body, dressing him in full dress uniform with all of his medals pinned to his uniform.
As we celebrate Independence Day this week, I am painfully aware that freedom isn’t free. My Daddy bought my freedom to live in a country where I can speak, write, and worship as I please.
Is there someone you know who made the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom?  Leave a comment about them here and add something to your celebration this year in remembrance of them.
Living joyfully in a free country-


  1. What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

    1. Thanks, Amy! I appreciate your encouraging words. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. I love this story...People have to know that freedom isn't really free. Thanks so much for the reminder. I acknowledge, appreciate and thank you for the sacrifice your family made for me.

    1. Thanks, my Friend! I hope you'll be able to work some sort of remembrance ceremony into your celebration today.

  3. Thanks to Adriana and Karen for following this blog. You ladies are the best! Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

  4. Cathy,

    This story touched my heart. Untold sacrifices are made every day by our military. We owe them so much. I appreciate what your Daddy did for me and our country. It was not in vain. Thanks, Cathy, for sharing your heart.

  5. Thank you, Sally. There are millions of stories out there like this one. I wanted to pay tribute to my Dad for his part is making me free. Blessings to you!

  6. Thank you Cathy for your wonderful story. You and yours are in our prayers. May their be a reunion in heaven of the John family.

  7. Thanks so much for your prayers and blessing. I'm looking forward to the day when I see God, Jesus and my Daddy.

  8. Cathy: I have looked over your blog posts. This one has me in tears. No, I haven't lost anyone close to me as they defended our freedom. But, I do pray for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

  9. Thank you, Quiet Spirit. I appreciate knowing this blog touched you. Freedom surely isn't free. Pray for the families of our men and women who are at war. They make a sacrifice for our freedom when a family member goes to war, if nothing more than spending time separated from each other and missing impportant family events. Blessings on you and yours!