Freedom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Freedom. Such a simple word, yet the picture it paints in our minds and hearts is great and deep. A small but cherished word. A word that an entire country was founded on. A word that symbolizes one of the most treasured concepts in the world.

When the pilgrims came to America, what did they come for? Freedom. When the Sons of Liberty threw tea into Boston Harbor, what were they demanding? Freedom. When the Africans on the Amistad were accused of murder after killing their inhumane captors, what did they fight for? Freedom.

It is a vital part of humanity, one of the most ­guarded and precious principles of mankind. Everyone wishes to have freedom. This country was created to preserve it in all its forms: freedom of religion, speech, expression, belief – freedom to live the way we wish. Yet, even as Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” our country’s first president owned slaves. Before the Civil War, the majority of the U.S. population were slaves. Is that equality?

If all men are equal, why should a person’s right to freedom depend on appearance? What does it matter whether one is black, white, pink, yellow, brown, or olive? Whether one is male or female, short or tall, old or young, fat or thin? We all have the same needs and wants. We all laugh, fight, and work. We all must eat. We all cry salty tears, and when we bleed, it’s ­always red.

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought to end ­segregation, he was fighting for equality. And what is equality? The freedom to live as any human being should. And there we have that word again.

The Civil War was a bloody, tragic struggle to gain the freedom for slaves in the South. Why? Because they deserved the same rights as any human.

Yet as the years pass, we are losing our freedom. We are steadily relinquishing our hold on the most important things. During the Vietnam War, citizens watching their televisions witnessed the real-life horrors of war brought to them by journalists who risked their lives to give others the freedom to understand what was going on and form their own opinions. As a result, some used their freedom of speech and protest to fight the government, to support what they believed in, and to stand firm with those beliefs.

Now, we are once again at war. However, I believe the news stations are censoring the footage, violating our right to know the truth. Even the newspapers are criticized if they print the truth.

If an author writes something that a certain group is opposed to, they ban the work from libraries and bookstores and have public book burnings. Where is our freedom of speech? Our right to expression?

We remember Patrick Henry’s name for a reason. He made a speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1775, inciting the Virginian troops to fight the oppressive British. But the phrase we remember most from Henry’s speech is “Give me liberty, or give me death.” He was speaking treason against the mother country, and he could have been executed for it. Yet he said it because he believed that freedom was worth ­dying for. And people did fight, kill, and die for freedom. What would our founding fathers say if they could see us now? If they fought so hard for it, how can we allow our freedom to be stolen? Why do we not protect our rights? We’ve become sheep, mind­lessly chewing the dry grass that fills the pasture where the shepherd has led us, completely oblivious to the pack of wolves closing in.

The problem is that we are allowing it. We allow our minds and souls to be filled with nothingness, with trivial, worthless things like designer products, cele­brity worship, and fairy tales until our individuality dissipates. We are being swept up in a sea of rapid-fire materialism.

We are flooded with fashion and gadgets and money and trends. We no longer fight to be heard, to say “I am human and I am free!” We no longer care about freedom, as long as we can buy that BMW or that flat-screen television. So what if our votes don’t count? So what if there is still racial discrimination? So what if people are being slaughtered all over the world? So what if we don’t matter anymore? Freedom’s not important. Beliefs aren’t important. Who needs those things when there’s a big sale at Macy’s?

We must rein ourselves in from this race. We’re going nowhere fast. Why would anyone want to live in a dank, stinking cave when one could watch the sunrise from atop the mountain, breathing fresh air? Some things are not subject to our wishes, are inevitable, as they say about death and taxes. But what about the things that are in our control?

Almost all of society is letting its wings get clipped. However, there’s something I am absolutely sure of. When they lower me into the earth when I’m dead, I want the last thing I remember to have been the feel of the fresh air and warm sun – freedom on my wings as I soared over the mountains.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Sunshineyday said...
Nov. 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm
"We’ve become sheep, mind­lessly chewing the dry grass that fills the pasture where the shepherd has led us, completely oblivious to the pack of wolves closing in" invoked a powerful image to me. I like this theme very much, I have written about it myself (i think the poem I wrote was called "Freedom 2.0; ) and this is the message I was trying to convey. we need to stop trusting the media so deeply, especially when they self-censor to please 'activists'. The c... (more »)
 
sggbby said...
Jan. 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm
This is awesome.
legit.
 
hokis pokis said...
Dec. 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm
Omg. i totally agree with everything in this editorial. They say we have the rights but, do we really? And these days people care more about cell phones, t.v's, and cars, no one cares about the freedoms and they are slowly melting away. I am in a way like Martin l. k. junur. We both wanted freedom for all no matter what race,what religon,or what gender.I feel we are all humanity and should be treated as one or equilaly. Some one needs to stand up these right and presever them and our freedom!!!<... (more »)
 
skaterkid said...
Dec. 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm
I agree that the news stations are not giving us the truth. We have been and are on verge of winning the war in Iraq...yet the news stations refused to report the truth about this.
 
Give me a break said...
Nov. 20, 2008 at 3:00 am
This is so off base. Completely misses the point, can you honestly tell me, Nadia, that you do not have freedom because of the country you live in? There is more freedom in this country than anywhere else in the world. Things will change, don't worry, and it will be because of the greatness of the United States.
 
sunshine_girl1819 said...
Sept. 18, 2008 at 1:10 am
i think your article was very powerful. My Favorite line was "We all cry salty tears, and when we bleed, it's always red". I absolutly agree with you on the subjet that we are sort of letting our opinions go and letting goverment walk all over us. it is about time we as indivisuals rise and claim our freedom as it has been given to us. otherwise, we will find ourselves in a perpetual fate.
This article is a true eye opener!
 
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