Just ask any family that's lost a member defending the United States how expensive freedom really is.

A special tribute will soon be constructed in Fall River's Bicentennial Park honoring those who served and died in the Vietnam War. It will be placed next to the monument built for "The Greatest Generation." It will be unique in that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will be the only replica in Massachusetts of the wall that is in our nation's capital, albeit a smaller version.

The names will be listed chronologically, according to the date of the soldier's casualty. When it is completed, I will be looking for June, July, and August of 1968. That was the time I just graduated from high school in Arkansas and many of my classmates, who were not going to college, started receiving their letters of induction from the U.S. draft. It agonizes my memory to recall their faces etched in the 58,000 names on the wall in D.C., and in 2020, the 1,350 Massachusetts soldiers who sacrificed their precious lives.

Every war this nation has fought has had an effect on the next generation that was called to fight. The experience never leaves those who lived through the trauma of war and recall the nightmare of battle.

They will always carry with them the reality of what it means to defend our rights, as citizens of this great and free country. And as we hear the loud booms from the fireworks, please remember the loud booms those true heroes also heard, but not from colorful fireworks.

God bless America as we remember Independence Day.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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