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What Freedom Means to Me
by LaVonne Boruk

What does freedom mean to you? My thesaurus lists these synonyms: autonomy; lack of restriction; self-determination; independence; choice; free will; sovereignty are listed under liberty (n.) restriction is an antonym.

Freedom also has another meaning, perhaps a less desirable one: openness; inventiveness; nonconformity; frankness; abandon; candor; free expression; rough are listed under looseness (n) conformity is an antonym.

We enjoy all of these freedoms here in the United States. No one tells us how many children we can have. No one tells us if our child is a boy he can live, but if it is a girl she must die. We are allowed to own our own home and/or business, work where we wish, get an education, worship the God of our choice in the way that we choose, and in the church of our liking, or not at all, if we so desire. We are free to travel, or to stay at home. No one puts up walls to keep us contained within any boundaries. We are free to live in the location of our choice, but we are also free to move from state to state with no restrictions, if that is our desire. We are free to raise our children in the way that we wish them to be brought up.

We are the fortunate few. We can choose the size of our family; the size of our home is limited only by our capacity and willingness to earn our living. We are free to bargain with our employer about the amount our skills and expertise are worth; and the conditions under which we are expected to work. We receive fair compensation for our labors and we are free to spend it in the way we choose, and free to invest and save for our retirement years.

We enjoy many more freedoms—too many to list here. But they do not come cheap. They have been bought and paid for with the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors and our peers who still stand tall today in the military, ready and willing to defend our freedoms from any and all transgressors all over the world. These are our husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, daughters, wives, mothers, and aunts.

A phrase that my husband, a career military man, was fond of saying during his career is, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight until my death for your right to say it." Who can give more than that? Shouldn't we give as much back to them?

They don't ask for much. Just a simple thanks and a pat on the back for a job well done. On May 8, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender. Where would we be now if Adolph Hitler's ambitions for the world had become a reality? Does anyone know?

The recent presidential election left many people feeling left out in the cold. Their man did not win. They are discontented with the man in office now, and find every opportunity to belittle him. On the world wide forum, the Internet. That's one of their freedoms that good men and women have died to preserve. Yet there were some who thought the military absentee ballots should not be counted because there were no post marks on the envelopes. Those people do not understand the military postal service. It is not at all unusual for them not to be postmarked, because they are delivered by the military from overseas and the envelopes do not even bear a postage stamp. Is it fair to discount their votes for this reason?

Some feel it is fine to denigrate the newly elected president, just as they did the one who preceded him. But to belittle the president is to belittle the people who voted for him. This is not world business, so why go to the Internet to belittle him? This denigrates our country, and our military. Is that fair? Domestic business should be handled at home. Those who work, in whatever capacity, for a better United States are to be commended. They have every right to complain when they feel something has not gone as it should have, but please, let's not air our discontent to the entire world. I can hear them saying, "Ho-hum! How boring! Those Ugly Americans!"

Let's work, each in our own way, to make our country a better place. Showing the rest of the world any disrespect for our president is not the way to do that. If we want him to be able to do a good job, and I'm sure we all do, then we must put away our individual selfishness and work for the good of all. Our continued freedom from oppression depends on all of us working together as a team. One man cannot do it alone.

©2001 LaVonne Boruk

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