What do you think freedom means?

December 18, 2008
Freedom. We hear this word a lot. Do you know what it means? I know I don’t. There are only a few thousand that do. Those people are the ones fighting for it. We take this freedom for granted because we don’t know the meaning or how or why we have it. Soldiers are dying for it and people hurt and sickened by it. When we walk by veterans or soldiers we brush past them without even saying those two important words…Thank you. It’s not that hard I’ve done it.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a tomb in Virginia that shows how people fight but aren’t necessarily recognized. While I was in Washington D.C. I had the pleasure and honor of laying down a wreath at the ceremony of the “Changing of the Guard”. Being at that grave sight with hundreds and thousands and millions of men and women, it changed my view as an American forever.

In Virginia, there are two other graves from war. The Vietnam War and the Korean War. The Vietnam War has two big walls that are filled with names. Thousands of names fill these walls. In addition, the Korean War has walls, but unlike the Vietnam War with names, there are faces. Faces of warriors that have died for our freedom. Next to these walls is a garden, standing in the garden are replicas of what it would have looked like if we were actually there.

We always hear, do not abuse your freedom, do not take it for granted, but the truth is; the people that say these words also abuse it. While I was in D.C. I visited the World War II memorial. There, there is a wall of a thousand stars. Each star represents one hundred soldiers that died. Those are people that didn’t abuse their freedom, they earned it.

The flag has three colors, red, white, and blue. The red is for the blood that was shed on the battle fields. The white stands for purity, innocence, and FREEDOM. The blue is for justice and perseverance. There are thirteen stripes that stand for the thirteen colonies, the first pieces of land of the United States of America. The 50 stars now represent the fifty states we have.

Freedom is something we earn, something we fight for, the reason we can wake up in the morning and not have to worry about war. Why do we stand up and say the pledge like it means nothing to us? Think about it. Every word said in the pledge has its meaning. The next time you see a veteran or a soldier, say those two big words—thank you. Always remember freedom is not free.

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