I realize that Independence Day has come and gone, but I thought I’d share an experience I had that made me think about all of the freedoms we enjoy. Around the 4th a video was circulating that showed the founding father’s singing a ballad to King George. After watching the video I was reading the comments and came upon a comment that said something to the effect of, “I will not celebrate the 4th of July until we aren’t searched in airports etc. We don’t have any freedom so I’ll wait until we’re free again.” For days I thought about this comment and pondered on why it was upsetting to me.
I have an aunt that escaped from Cambodia with her family when Pol Pot took over the country. They didn’t have enough to eat while they were escaping and eventually her father had to carry her on his back. 30 years later she can’t have any biological children because of the malnutrition they suffered for the price of freedom. When I was in elementary school I became obsessed with journals from the Holocaust era. I read as many survivor journals as I could get my hands on. One of my favorite books told the story of a young girl (eleven when the conflict started) who eventually helped smuggle fellow Jews out of the country- risking her own life to give others freedom. Another favorite book told the story of a young girl during the time of Mao in China. Her family had to destroy their history to stay ‘under the radar’. They had no freedom.
As partakers of a democratic society we don’t understand what it feels like to not have freedom. I can say whatever I want against the government and nothing will happen to me. I can move wherever I want. I can choose to work or not to work. I can have as many (or as few) children as I please. I can be whoever I want to be. I can choose not to go the airport if I don’t want to be searched. I am free. There are so many people in the world that can’t say those words. Lets have respect for the many soldiers that have worked so hard to guarantee our freedoms and for the people that are still fighting for theirs. Be grateful for the opportunity to choose how you want to live your life. I’m grateful for many things and the freedoms I enjoy are definitely at the top of my list.