Patriot's Pen

2015-2016 Winning Century Post 503 Essay 

"What Freedom Means To Me"

By: Kira Matheson

Freedom is Not Free

Before, if you asked me about freedom, I could give you the immediate dictionary definition and tell you that as an American, I was graced with quite a bit. It took a class trip to Washington DC to make me fully understand the cost of this right.

A phrase I saw several times in the nation's capital was, “Freedom is not free.” After some reflection, I truly was able to realize the authenticity of this quote. To be free, you must pay with blood, sweat, and tears. A few certain places come to mind while hearing this, one being Arlington Cemetery. Walking it was truly a surreal, yet saddening, experience. As far as the eye can see are rows among rows of white crosses. Looking over the fields, a somber sense of gratitude crept over me. These crosses were people who paid with their lives to improve ours.

I received a similar feeling when at the Vietnam memorial. The granite was hot from the afternoon sun, nearly searing the names into my palm. At the base of the wall were bouquets of flowers, cards, and pictures of our veterans. Each of those people on that wall had a family and friends that they went off to fight for. It was probably one of the hardest things they'd ever do, and I commend them for that. Everywhere I went, every name on every wall had believed in our country so much, they were willing to die for it.

In the end, freedom is all about sacrifices. The memorials represent brave soldiers fighting and risking their lives for a better future, even though they probably did not get to experience it. Just look at World War II, we lost over 100,000 courageous soldiers as they battled for our country. They had the fate of our nation in their hands, and they molded it into something remarkable. Even now, there are soldiers risking all they’ve got in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The path to freedom is not pretty. It's gory and filled with sorrow, but the outcome is all worth it. It takes people like our soldiers to help move our nation forward because after all, freedom is not free.

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 Revised: March 22, 2016