I am on a bus traveling across the United States, rallying for candidates in key primary races. I have done this a lot over the last few years (though usually by plane or car), and have come to know patriots from all across this great country. We laugh together, cry together, journey together, plan together, sacrifice together, sweat together, freeze together, work together and sometimes even do the Harlem Shake together – all to deliver a message of hope for a hurting nation, if we possibly can.

Then we get off the stage. The lights are down. The stage is empty. The crowds are gone. And I go back to my hotel room, where I have a moment to catch up with myself and I realize: I miss bedtime prayers with my babies. I miss lying next to my husband, and I miss my little French bulldog, Gipper. I miss home.

And then I think of the soldier in the bunker or trench, melting in the desert sun, who won’t see his family for months or longer. I think of the SEALs whose brave lives were cut short for reasons I don’t understand, and how their wives will miss them forever. I think of the 1,343,812 brave soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for our country, and I realize my life is an honor and a luxury.

But perhaps the ultimate is the soldier who has to fight twice.

I sit on the Tea Party Express bus as I write. We have traveled from South Florida, through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and now we are in Oklahoma somewhere headed to Kansas. The palm trees have turned to pecan trees. The blue gulf waters have transformed to dry, cracked earth. The accents have lessened, and our own hearts have softened to our mission.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced at the rally in Texarkana.

Order Gina Loudon’s book “Ladies and Gentlemen: Why the Survival of Our Republic Depends on the Revival of Honor” – how atheism, liberalism and radical feminism have harmed the nation.

The Texas sun wanted to give us a Texas-sized welcome, so it greeted us at full capacity. It was probably at least 90 degrees, but on the pavement, it might have been even hotter in the heat of the day. Patriots stood and listened as each speaker got up and poured their heart out, each singer sang with all they had to sing!

At the end of the event, the Rivoli Revue did the military tribute. This time, Kay Rivoli felt inspired. Instead of singing their “Freedom Isn’t Free” tribute song and simply thanking our veterans, she invited them to go up on the stage.

There was a collective gasp as a shocking percentage of the crowd began to make its way to the stage. It was like an altar call if Jesus Himself were standing at the pulpit. They kept coming, and I found myself wondering if the audience had misunderstood the invitation, because there were so many! You could have heard a pin drop. Tears began to flow.

Someone might have said it, but this thought echoed in my head: These brave souls were fighting for our country – twice!

How dare the haters in this country call this crowd of patriots the “haters”? How dare they call them racists, homophobes, xenophobes, sexists, liars and radicals?! How dare they not realize that most in the patriot uprising are not only patriots, they have offered the ultimate price of their own lives? And now they step up to fight again. I was transfixed.

I noticed several of the veterans were way too old to be standing there sweating on blacktop for hours in the hot Texas sun. A couple of the men were on canes or walkers, but they dutifully climbed those stairs and stood, once again, for the land they love. They didn’t want to miss a moment – they didn’t want to miss the chance to say “I love you” one more time to the country they protect. They each held little flags high as they stood proudly on that stage and listened to “Freedom’s Not Free” and the tears fell like rain on the scorched Texas pavement. They are forever soldiers.

I often sign my books, “We are only free because we are brave. Stay brave!” But today I was reminded just how brave we will need to be in this war to win back liberty in this country. Today I learned what real bravery looks like. Today, I was reminded that freedom, indeed, is not free.

Do the media, university indoctrinators and elite in this country who slander the patriot movement even realize whom they are slandering? Do they care that as they sit in their ivory towers, or cushy newsrooms, that those they are calling names actually gave them the freedom to slander them? Cowards. The next time someone gets in my face about the radicals or haters in the patriot movement, somebody better hold me back. I saw the faces of patriots, and I won’t have any more of the statists’ lies. This is war.

God bless our veterans. Thanks to them – for fighting not once, but twice – as the dim minded in this country have lost sight of what is American. Our brave soldiers shouldn’t have to fight again for what they already gave us once! We should be ashamed. They should be given another medal. They should at least be given the respect to be called patriots, not haters, for what they believe and are willing to fight for twice. They should not be used as pawns in the elitist game of takers who want free stuff, money or votes.

Freedom isn’t free.

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