Guest Editorials


The Price of Freedom

Jennifer WrightThroughout the course of American history – from the Revolutionary War to today, nearly 2.5 million brave Americans have been killed or wounded in military conflicts protecting American freedoms. It is because of the sacrifice of these brave men and women that we are able to come together with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our nation. And on this Independence Day, it is important that while we celebrate our independence and the freedoms we enjoy, we reflect on the courage and sacrifices of our military and their families to protect our way of life.

Two hundred thirty-five years ago, a small band of Revolutionaries had the courage and bravery to come together to declare that the American Colonies were from that day forward “Free and Independent States.” The brave signers of our Declaration of Independence knew full well that in signing that bold document, they put themselves and their families at risk. Those early Americans began the tradition of bold, courageous self-sacrifice for the good of the citizenry of the United States of America that continues today in the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women that defend our freedom.

According to, a total of 6088 soldiers have been confirmed dead by U.S. Central Command in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Of those, 133 Arizonans have sacrificed their lives to protect ours. Since the start of 2011 alone, five young Arizonans have given the ultimate sacrifice to our country in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq – one was from Avondale, two from Glendale, one from Goodyear, and one from Phoenix. As an Arizonan and American, I have the deepest gratitude and respect for their service and sacrifice, and the service and sacrifice of their loved ones. Without these heroes, we could not enjoy the liberties and freedoms embodied in our Constitution.

In 1777, after a tough loss for Revolutionaries in the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania, Thomas Paine wrote “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” We don’t all have the skills, ability, or strength to take up arms and defend American freedom in foreign land – but it is our imperative duty to support our troops. Furthermore, it is our imperative duty to protect freedom and liberty in the United States by actively engaging in the political process.

On this Independence Day, I encourage all Arizonans to honor our fallen heroes, and in their memory commit to civic involvement. One of the most important civic duties we have as freedom-loving Americans is to let our voices be heard through the political process. On August 30, 2011, the City of Phoenix holds their municipal elections where citizens can cast their votes for city council districts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7, as well as the office of mayor. In the last city council race, just over 47,000 Phoenicians out of 307,000 registered voters cast ballots to determine their representative. And in both of the last two mayor’s races, fewer than 100,000 Phoenicians out of 1.5 million residents and over 500,000 registered voters cast their ballot to determine who would be the leader of our city.

Two and a half million Americans have been killed or injured to provide us with the freedoms we enjoy. I encourage every Phoenician to vote on Tuesday, August 30 to honor our fallen heroes and support their sacrifice. They may be fighting for freedom on the battlefield, but we need to fight for freedom at the ballot box.

Jennifer Wright is a candidate in the Phoenix mayoral election.