Wars are often measured in dollars and not by the blood of soldiers fighting them.
A new local exhibit puts a human face on the price paid to keep America free.
If you want to know how much 230 years of wars have cost the United States and its soldiers, take a trip to the Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.
Climb the steps to the second floor, scan the 12 or so displays in the new exhibit, "The Cost of Freedom," and you might begin to get an accurate estimate.
"The exhibit was (developed) with the idea that it would honor local veterans and their families and show the sacrifices they gave to protect our freedom," said Janet Gerber, assistant museum director. "We wanted to show a personal side of not just the wars, but of those who served."
The exhibit contains features displays of mementos, uniforms, letters and photographs of soldiers from every war from the Revolutionary to the present day conflict in Iraq. The World War II display has more elements than most of the other displays, museum officials said, and the collection of items from Vietnam and the Gulf War ran short.
"We tried to give some detail to every one of them," museum director Dan Davidson said. "A lot of people from the community donated. The community has really helped us fill in the gaps."
Davidson said the display was put together piecemeal throughout the last six months. However, he thinks the time was well spent.
Organizers tied the displays in with the experience of area people as much as they could, he said.
"From the Civil War on, we tried to use people who had dissidents," he said.
Ideally, Davidson said he hopes the exhibit will help people understand that the cost of freedom was, and remains, "individual sacrifice."
Museum officials said they plan to display the exhibit until the end of the year. It can be viewed, for free, during museum hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.