Sweet Taste of Freedom

November 15, 2008
By Yearin Byun, York, PA

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.” As Herbert Hoover stated, American veterans—at my age—put their lives on the line as a sacrifice on the altar of freedom and democracy, not only for their own country but also for other countries such as Vietnam and Korea. Therefore, had the veterans not risked their lives in the name of freedom, everything that I consider precious—my family, my friends and my life—would have been non-existent.

The ultimate sacrifice for the good of man-kind was made by the brave men who fought not only for the good of the nation, but for each and every person that populates the great nation today. It might be thought that since there has been no major war affecting the well-being of this nation within my lifetime, this generation would be ignorant of the level to which these veterans risked their lives; however, they must realize that their happiness is not inherited, but is earned from these sacrifices. In some places such as Sudan, Myanmar and Afghanistan, children are forced to join the military and used for the most treacherous tasks—such as messengers, front line fighters and even for sexual uses—as they are regarded as being expendable and replaceable. This situation, in which a country curbs individual freedom, makes a distinction from America where prizes liberty and most of times, does not use the forceful drafting into the military.

American veterans have volunteered to fight not only for their nation, but also for the future of other nations such as South Korea. Right before General MacArthur and his troops arrived, South Korea was losing its battle against North Korea and communism. Therefore, if American soldiers had not gone gallantly into the war, then there is a chance that many Korean children, myself included, would not have been born, or we would have been born under the oppression of communist rule. Every day, ideas and thoughts flood my head of how different life would be for me if I am ruled viciously by the hand of Kim Jung Ill, the current dictator in North Korea where a person is degraded or slaughtered for being different from what the ruling population considers normal.

This nation as well as many other nations that were saved by American veterans would not be near as great or experiencing their present freedoms as it is now if these brave young men and women, who some have become grandmother or grandfather, mother or father, had not risked their lives for it. I am forever in debt and thankful to those who risked their lives and to those who lost someone valuable to them so that I and other people around the world can continue to savor the sweet taste of freedom and liberty.

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