• ‘What freedom means to me ...’

  • Essays from Fort Leavenworth school children

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  • Elizabeth Zeller | Patton Junior High School
    Freedom: Noun: The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
    Many people in America take our freedom for granted, and do not think about how fortunate we are. But when you think about it, you start to understand that we’re given so many choices and chances in life that others will never receive.
    As recent as 52 years ago, people of different races could not legally marry in some states. Many, including me, wouldn’t be here today if some didn’t fight for their freedoms.
    In 1967, an African-American woman named Mildred had married a white man named Richard. One of the only places that interracial marriages were legal at the time was in Washington, D.C., so they went there to wed. They then returned to their home in Virginia after they had married, but these marriages weren’t yet legal in the state. Weeks later, police arrived at their house unannounced and sent them to jail. The couple took their case to court, and Richard had argued, “I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”
    The Supreme Court had agreed, and told them that individuals should decide who to marry, not the states. They had fought for their love, and secured the freedom to marry who they wished. Our country is still continuing to define freedom. In fact, only four years ago, gay marriage remained illegal in many states. Today, people have the freedom to marry who they wish. Our country was founded on the ideas of freedom, liberty and justice for all. As you can see in the examples about marriage, our country does not always get it right the first time, or even the second time, but the important thing is that our country is always striving for freedom.
    That is not the case in other countries. Unfortunately, they don’t enjoy the same freedoms that we do. For example, people in Iran can be killed if they are not straight, they do not have freedom of the press, and women cannot even attend a soccer match or go outside without a head scarf. Families in countries like North Korea aren’t allowed to have simple pleasantries like foreign television or magazines in their households without being sent to jail or forced into hard labor, while some of us complain about how little electronics we get every day.
    Of course, our country also faces many challenges and conflicts that have yet to be solved. Environmental issues, gay rights, religious and racial freedom, immigration, the list goes on — but we can change that. Unlike other countries, we have the power to make a change. We are the future that shapes our society and country in the years to come. We aren’t controlled by one person or brain-washed into believing what we “should” believe.
    Page 2 of 4 - You and you and everybody here, can make a difference, and form our lives and everyone else’s to the world we want, because we have the freedom to do so. Sure, there will still always be problems in this world that we can’t fix, I know that for a fact, but we still hold the power to eliminate the ones we can.
    “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others,” said Nelson Mandela.
    He believed that freedom wasn’t just for yourself, but for everyone. True freedom is boundless opportunities for change, infinite possibilities in life and casting the chains off of everyone in the world. All you need to do is cut them free.
    Kaitlynn Campbell | Bradley Elementary School
    Freedom is the power to act, speak and think freely.
    Many countries don’t have freedom and many other countries are still fighting for freedom. I’m glad my country has freedom because people don’t get to choose for me, I can decide.
    I once read a book about Malala. Malala was a girl who spoke up for her rights. Malala once said, “It is better to live like a lion for one day instead of living like a slave for 100 years.”
    Back in the day, people controlled others by their religious ways and tricked them. People still do that, and I think that’s wrong. I think threatening people is horrible! A lot of lives have been killed, hurt or lost a loved one. All because they believed in freedom.
    I believe all of us should have freedom. I think freedom is realizing you have a choice. You can choose every day how you want to live, to think, to feel, to believe, to speak. People with freedoms have a responsibility to use their voices to help others. I believe people with power should help others who don’t have power. I believe this because I feel inspired when I see or read about people standing up for others.
    The majority of people take freedom for granted than use it for good. I have a right to education, to choose what job I have, and to choose if I live safely. People who don’t have freedom don’t get those things. They also need more than the people who have freedom.
    What is the point of freedom if you’re not using it to help others get the same freedom? I have freedom because of the many men and women who continue to fight and protect my rights because I was given this gift, not to keep for myself, but to give for those without freedom.
    Page 3 of 4 - Kate Lysaght | Eisenhower Elementary School
    Freedom is something that took our country years to gain. It took many wars and battles for America to get to where it is today. Hundreds of thousands of brave men and women risk their lives every day to keep us free, as well as to help other countries. We should not take our freedom for granted.
    When I think of freedom, I think of opportunity. Without freedom, we would not have the opportunity to get an education. We would not have the opportunity to get any job we want, or even eat the food we desire. Before we were granted freedom, these things were chosen by others or not given at all.
    As American citizens, we all have rights that go along with our independence. Even after we were granted independence as a country, most of us still had to fight for our rights. Most women could not get jobs and not all women could vote. It was not just women who had this issue, but also people of color and different races. They solved this problem by putting up a fight and believing in their rights as Americans. Freedom to me means we can make our own choices and we do not depend on other people. This shows how important rights are to all of us.
    When we look at our nation’s flag, it should remind us of the hardships and sacrifices our nation has gone through. By sacrifices, I mean brave people risking their lives so we could have independence. They went to war knowing they might not come back home. They fought for years in all weather conditions. By hardships, I mean leaving their families behind for a long period of time. We should be very grateful for the people who helped us get to where we are now.
    Our country is free unlike many others. We are very fortunate for all the new opportunities we have because we are free. We are no longer owned and controlled by anyone but ourselves. We might not think about it every day, but freedom is extremely important. Remember, we should not take freedom for granted.
    Michelle Dillard | MacArthur Elementary School
    “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” — The Oxford Dictionary
    Freedom is a basic human need that we all crave, but some never get.
    America was founded because people thought that freedom was something worth fighting for. In the past, many people would simply endure the many injustices they faced. Freedom was viewed as a fairy tale to many. Why would you ever realistically think that you could face an empire that’s stood for so very long? However, when broken, pushed past the breaking point, people fought. Some died and many suffered, but everyone left felt an indescribable relief pass over them.
    Page 4 of 4 - Have you ever asked your parents, grandparents, even great grandparents what exactly does freedom mean to them? I have. Answers I’ve gotten have ranged from going where I want to go, to being able to make my own choices. To make my own desires come true. Freedom is the option to go where you want in life if you’re able to work hard to get there.
    I think freedom can also be a feeling. Something that we feel in the fabric of our very being. It’s something our heart yearns for. Some might feel it when leaving the house to go to university, when they meet that red ribbon above the finish line, maybe even when you order your meal by yourself for the first time.
    At the same time, freedom is a right that all people should have. It’s not always been that way though. The issue of freedom has always been prevalent in America. The Pilgrims came here because it was such an issue. Later, men would cry “to the revolution” at the bar because freedom was becoming a gigantic issue.
    But America has been on both sides of this equation. We’ve been the victims and the oppressors. The United States is not a country made on completely correct decisions. Our history is like a gigantic painting that although beautiful can have dark parts — some of the darkest being slavery, the Trail of Tears and just the body count of the Civil War. All of these examples being either fight for freedom or an infringement made on another freedom.
    However, America has survived all these matters and our country now thrives. Of course, we still have issues but at this moment America is the freest we’ve ever been. This country was built on freedom, and I hope that this generation of brilliant minds can keep that in mind while moving forward.
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