What price are you willing to pay for freedom?

(CCU Student) Looking back at Western Conservative Summit 2010 through the eyes of a future soldier, the words I remember most are these: “What price are you willing to pay for freedom?”

They were spoken by the last man from whom I would expect to receive a lesson in patriotism—a Lebanese PLO operative who partook in missions against Israel and the west from the time he was a child. However, Kamal Saleem’s words at Western Conservative Summit were probably the most moving and thought provoking of the entire weekend.

Kamal Saleem was born in Beirut, Leabanon to parents who devoutly followed Shariah law and the teachings of Jihad and the Koran. Saleem participated in his first mission against Israel with the PLO at the mere age of seven. He continued to follow his beliefs and fight against the west throughout his entire childhood and yong adult life. As a young man, Saleem was a frequent house guest and strong friend of Omar Khadafi and his family. Saleem helped to train terrosts to fight against the United States and Israel and instructed numerous organizations from the IRA to the Black Panthers. Eventually, he was sent to the United States and given the task of secretly recruiting young Muslim men in America to travel to the Middle East and join in the Jihad against Israel and her ally, the United States.

While here in the United States,Saleem was involved in an acciddent and was taken in by a Christian and Jewish family. Because of the amazing love and grace of these individuals, Saleem found the love of Christ and left his old life of evil behind. He now is a steadfast believer and an ardent patriot of his new home, the United States.

During his speech, Saleem asked us who would stand on the wall and defend freedom from her enemies. This is when his speech particualrly began to grab my attention. As a cadet in the Army ROTC program at CCU, I have truly begun to dig into and explore the concept of deending freedom and protecting the American people from the enemy. And frankly, I am more than willing to stand on the wall next to Mr. Saleem any time. It is the bravery of this man that insired me and moved me so much. I couldn’t help but share my feelings with Mr. Saleem and the moment we shared will be with me forever.

When I told Mr Saleem how I felt about what he said and that I was preparing to become an officer in the Army, it brought tears to his (and to mine) and he shared with me his heartfelt gratitude that I have rarely felt from anyone else during my time as a cadet.

Something that Saleem asked the crowd was what they were willing to pay in exchange for the freedom we have in the United States. Sadly, I do not think many in the crowd, and in this nation, can answer that question. The majority of us simply go on through our lives and never give it a second thought. As a result, fewer and fewer men and women are willing to stand up and a make a consious decision to stand guard for freedom. Let us hope that with men like Kamal Saleem and others, more freedom lovers will take to the wall. Whether it be with a microphone, a pen, a computer, or a rifle, we all have a part to play in keeping the American dream and liberty alive and safe.

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