The gift of freedom: An appreciation for veterans

Editor’s note: Teen writer Mary Meehan was inspired by Veterans Day activities to write a blog post about what freedom — and the responsibility to acknowledge sacrifice as part of that freedom — means to her.

We enjoy many freedoms in America that can only be dreamed of in other countries.

Why is this? How did this come to be?

Principles of freedom and equality in the United States Constitution allow us to decide our path in life. But after more than 200 years, how have these inalienable rights remained intact? And most importantly, how do we ensure that they remain a vital part of America’s identity?

A common quotation heard by most every American is that “freedom is not free.” To understand what this quote means, let’s look through history at those Americans who have helped us by giving us our initial freedom, and in the case of today’s military, reaffirming it over time so it remains a vibrant part of our culture.

In order to construct our own Constitution, this great country’s forefathers were willing to do more than inconvenience themselves to overcome the evils of suppression. They displayed an exceptional willingness to sacrifice “self” for the love of fellow man to gain this freedom.

Freedom is not a static state. It can be lost again, so maintaining this precious gift for humanity is crucial. This sacrificial type of love is stronger than brotherly love. It is the purest form of love, termed “agape love.” We remain free today because we have always had Americans willingly give us this kind of love.

From the early colonists to our military veterans today, the common thread that binds us together is this love. The fact that life is given up for the greater good, for the sake of human dignity, makes it bigger than life itself. That is how the power of this love can span generations, even after those who have acted upon it are gone. It’s a spiritual bond that transcends time and is felt in the patriotism we hold in our hearts.

As sons and daughters of this great nation, we need to recognize that this freedom is a priceless gift that allows us to express our humanity fully. To remain alive, it needs to be nurtured and continually defended with that same type of unconditional love.

Mary Meehan, Delano High School

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