William “Bill” Dean served with the 551 Parachute Infantry Battalion in WWII. The 551st, also known as the GOYA’s (Great Outstanding Young Americans, or as the veterans would say ‘Get Off Your Asses).

This independent Battalion, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and commanded by Lt Col Wood Joerg launched their attack to liberate the Belgian town of Rochelinval on 7 January 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. It would be their last battle, ever, with Lt Col Joerg being the highest ranked casualty .
The 551 PIB was activated in November 1942 with 800 men and was deactivated after one week of combat in January 1945 when only 110 surviving men were absorbed into the 82 ABD.
Lt Durkee, CO of Company A/551 PIB ordered one of the two bayonet charges that were performed during the Battle of the Bulge.

During his time with the 551st, Dean made a promise to his Lord that if he made it through WWII he would live the remainder of his life for him…he made good on that promise. Bill’s son, also a pastor, wrote and sang this song. He thought of the lyrics while walking his father’s steps a few years ago.


Freedoms Never Free

By Philips, Craig and Dean

Standing on a hillside
Where the river meets the sea
White crosses without number
Line the fields of peace

And each one a silent witness
Staring back at me
Every cross a story
Of another place in time
Where young men thought it worthy
To give their life for mine
And for the sake of honor
Left their dreams behind

And for the price they paid
I’m forever in their debt
Their memory will not die
‘Cause I will not forget

I will stand and hold my head up high
I will dedicate my life
To the glory of the ones who had to die
I will live, live what I believe
If for no one else but me
To remember
Freedom’s never free
It was on another hillside
Outside the city gates
The battle lines were drawn
As soldiers took their place

The Father watched in silence
As a cross was raised
With freedom drawing closer
He took His final breath
He drank our cup of guilt
And took the sting from death

Heaven’s Finest Soldier
clothed in human flesh
And for the price He paid
I’m forever in His debt
The cross will never die
‘Cause I will not forget

I will stand and hold my head up high
I will dedicate my life
To the glory of the One who had to die
I will live, live what I believe
If for no one else but me
To remember that
Freedom’s Never Free

I will walk free
I will stay free
I will live free
I will die free!