“Freedom, oh Freedom, all of the thoughts that this word raises, all of the dreams, hopes and aspirations in one word. Freedom, to be who I really am, instead of who I want others to think I am. Freedom to accept where I am in life and Freedom to dream of all that I can be.
“Freedom to rise or fall, as I deem appropriate, giving me exactly what I believe to be fulfilling. Freedom to stop growth because I do not chose to believe in myself. Freedom to be a hard worker or to be lazy is in my hands.
“Ah, Freedom. That means that every one of us can be whatever we allow ourselves to be. Paradise or Hell is contained in this word. The question is whether we believe ourselves worthy of such a goal or such failure.
“Freedom, wonder-filled grand symbol of our nation, I have served you proudly, and even after many years, I still believe so devoutly that if I were ordered up to serve again, I would gladly pack my toothbrush, cut my hair and step back into uniform for Freedom sake. Freedom has its costs.
“Freedom to learn is a right. As is freedom to raise your children to be wise and proud, freedom to travel anywhere, to be anything, achieve anything, love anything or anyone! These things are paid for with the blood of patriots
“Freedom also allows us to fail, to become bitter, angry and resentful. Freedom gives us a right to speak our minds, to gather with others of a similar leaning, to protest when we disagree. It says that we have a right to pass or fail, be or not be, love or hate. Freedom gives us the right to leave if we desire, go where we want and when we choose.
“I am not what others say I am, although I do recognize that my thoughts seem to run in tandem with what I was told as a child. That is the basis for all of my actions, right up to the point when I realized that I had a choice!
“I am Free! I have a million choices to make this year. Do I stay or go, do I learn a new way or refuse to change. Do I identify with all of humanity or a small radical group? Will I be devout or atheistic? I have Freedom.
“So do you. We can love or hate, cherish or isolate. We can be a black American or white, red or yellow as we chose to see ourselves. We can be a college graduate or lost in the mass of the homeless. We can be free or we can be a slave to our prejudices.
“Where is my Freedom today? Where will I find it tomorrow? Who will feel free and happy, while others will feel despair and hopelessness? Who will be there to give me what I want? Or to tell me that I cannot be what my dreams inspire me to be. Where is your Freedom?
“Will another have to accept less, or give up their dreams or even their lives, so that I might have freedom? Freedom should never be a matter of taking away other’s Freedom.
“Are you ready to make those hard choices, ready to change and to grow? What Freedom do you accept this day? Who will you thank?”
“For me, I can only say, “Thank you God, for my heart and mind. Thank you for this wonderful concept that frees us from our past. Thank you for inspiration, hope and love. Thank you for Freedom.”