Five thousand white crosses stand at attention on a plot of land in Lafayette, California.

There should be 7,955 crosses. But there’s no more room on the hillside. So, the folks who own the property put up a sign, which they update each week with the current number.

The original 16 crosses showed up on the hillside many years ago, to memorialize the first American casualties of the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. At first, the crosses were meant as an anti-war protest. And it created plenty of controversy in this otherwise quiet community.

But as the years have passed, and the crosses have multiplied, the controversy has faded.

It’s no longer about being anti-war, or about its opponents being pro-America. Today, the memorial stands as a reminder of the cost of war.

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We can argue about the justifications for war. We can argue about whether or not our sons and daughters should be deployed to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world. Both sides have valid reasons for their positions.

But the one point on which we can all agree is that, for the families of the soldiers that each cross represents, war is expensive.

Indeed… Freedom is not free.

This is Memorial Day weekend. It’s the traditional kick-off of summer. We light our barbeques, throw a bunch of beer and soda into the coolers, pump up all of the inflatable pool toys, and enjoy our time with friends and family.

And, for a moment at least, we think about those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But unlike the price of cars, mattresses, clothes, and everything else that gets advertised this weekend, freedom never goes on sale.

Maybe it will at some point.

It has to.

There’s no more room on the hillside.

Best regards and good trading,


Jeff Clark