As we celebrate our Independence Day, our friends at the American Legion Post 584 remind that freedom isn’t free. Thirty-one of the Big Bear Valley’s sons and daughters have already served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and three of those sons–U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rex Kenyon, U.S. Army Specialist Adam Rosema, and U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker—have paid the ultimate price. Today, we salute those from our community who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan: with the U.S. Army, Specialist 4 Scott Zimmerman, Staff Sergeant Marc Little, Specialist 4 Ruth Nash, Specialist 4 Ruben Moody, Sergeant Selena Knowlton, Sergeant Josh Halverson, Private First Class William Carroll, Sergeant Aaron Richert, Specialist 4 Dominic Solomon, Specialist 4 John Whalen, Specialist 4 Shannon McPherson, Private First Class Nathan Williams, Staff Sergeant Jacques Keeslar, Sergeant Gilbert Paiz and Sergeant Ben Siep; with the Air National Guard, Sergeant Al Groover; with the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Third Class David Pickett and Navyman Brian Costanzo; and, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal Jason Mazur, Corporal Kevin England, Corporal Anthony Rasmussen, Corporal Matthew Shelby and Sergeant Aaron Botenhagen. On this Fourth of July, let us also celebrate five who, rather than at home in Big Bear, are currently serving in Iraq: Specialist Erik Crisanti, Specialist 4 John O’Hare and Victor Belotti with the U.S. Army and Corporal Christopher Romero and Lance Corporal James Algeo with the U.S. Marine Corps. Our thanks, also, to the families of these brave Americans.