Perhaps never before in American history has the word “freedom” been more meaningful. When I think of freedom, I consider the many rights and privileges we enjoy in this great country. Besides having freedom of speech and worship, we are free to pursue personal goals and become successful. Regardless of race, gender or physical limitations, opportunities abound. Our constitution promises to secure the “blessings of liberty.”
Freedom, however, means more than blessings. Freedom also means the honor of responsibility. As citizens, we should joyfully embrace our duty to preserve our way of life by voting, by following laws, by openly opposing racism and discrimination, by honoring our veterans, police and firefighters, and even by paying taxes.
We are free to complain about taxes, but the benefits we receive in return are amazingbenefits such as excellent highways, libraries, parks, police and fire departments, and superb public schools. Taxes also help those less fortunate. True freedom means giving as well as receiving and does not come without a price.
Sometimes that price is very high. The passengers of flight #93, which crashed on September 11, exemplified the meaning of freedom and democratic ideals. It is said that they took a vote to determine whether or not to act against the terrorists. In those moments of certain terror, they upheld the very principles upon which our government was founded, and, amazingly, they voted. Those heroic Americans epitomize the meaning of freedom. They gave their lives preserving and defending democracy. We owe them our respect and gratitude.
The brave Americans of flight #93 and the other victims of September 11 paid the ultimate price for freedom. I think the founding fathers would be proud of them. I know I am. Through them, I more fully appreciate the true meaning and value of freedom.