The Price of Freedom

Western trails in Nebraska. Blue = Mormon Trai...

Image via Wikipedia

I wrote this back in 2012 and I think it’s worth a revisit.

Let’s start with a song, shall we:

Keep that in mind, we’ll be coming back to it.

As I sit here in my office, looking out the window, I can see 7 of the great American migration routes, from north to south:  The Lincoln Highway, US Highway 30, The Transcontinental Railroad, Interstate 80, The Platte River, The Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, and  the Pony Express Route. Think about how many hopes and dreams have passed through here.

Now combine that with Shenandoah. The song came about in the early 19th century and was made famous by US sailors all over the world. what does it speak of? It speaks of loneliness, of likely never seeing your friends and family again, and does it hauntingly. It was very appropriate for those sailors, and it was equally appropriate for (and loved by) those thousands/millions trekking through Nebraska on their way to a new and hopefully better life.

Why did they do it? Some, of course, to avoid the sheriff, or their girlfriend’s father but, mostly they were going to, not running from. To what? A better life, maybe, but they were going to have to build it themselves, and if you’ve ever driven I-80, you know what a trek it is today, let alone to walk it, as most did.

What motivated them is the same thing that has motivated American from the very beginning: Freedom. Freedom to build your own life. Freedom to be left alone, Freedom to be the very best that you can be.

What was the price they put on that freedom? That they would most likely, whether they succeeded or failed, never see their family and friends again. If they were very lucky they might receive a few letters in the course of the rest of their life.

And remember, it was out here, on the Oregon trail (and it’s fork in the road, the California trail) that the saying became true. “The sick died, the weak never started”, it was that kind of migration.

That freedom had quite a price, didn’t it?

What is yours worth?


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

6 Responses to The Price of Freedom

  1. the unit says:

    Yep the price of establishing the western routes to freedom was very high.
    “Nearly every man on Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s famous expedition received treatment for syphilis, which at the time consisted of a heavy dose of mercury.” (From
    Must’ve been fun while it lasted 1804 -1806! 🙂
    Seriously though I do get the point here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Figured you would, and yep, prices come in many denominations! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says: didn’t list what denomination the individual men were. I bet the “Prairie Saint” denominations were represented. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Likely So! 😀


  2. But what price are we paying today for our freedom, especially as we seem to be losing it in the West? And today in my opinion, this is more ideological and economic, i.e. the true study of ideas, their source and nature. We must “know” what we believe!


    • And the dumbing-down of the West has been going on for at least a generation, perhaps more! The manifestations of Postmodernism have been deconstruction and poststructuralism. An undermining of everything! We see this especially in education and re-writing history today, ugh!


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