Brandi Anderson is an 8th grade student at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona Beach, Florida, and was the winner of the AMVETS Post 911’s “What Freedom Means to Me” Essay Contest. Brandi and her family were guests of Freedom Alliance at the Hannity Freedom Concert in Orlando, Florida, in August 2010.
Brandi’s father, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Anderson, was killed by enemy fire while serving in Iraq in 2004. Her father was the inspiration behind the essay, and with Brandi’s permission, we would like to share it with you below.
WHAT IT MEANS TO ME
by Brandi Anderson
Free-dom (free-dem) n. 1. The state or quality of being free; a) exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or arbitrary power; liberty; independence b) being able to act, move, use etc. without hindrance or restraint, confinement or repression.
Freedom. What a beautiful word. A gift endowed upon us. Our birthright as an American citizen. Freedom has a very special meaning to me. I know what the price of freedom is. It does not come without a very high cost. Every man, woman, and child who lies their head down each night in peace, does so because some other American, at some time, layed down their life for them. I know this because I lost my dad in Iraq on May 2nd, 2004. He was a Navy Seabee sent there to help rebuild a country. He was killed, along with six of his fellow comrades when their camp was mortared. I will never forget the day that the Naval Chief and Chaplain showed up at my front door. I was only seven at the time but the words about to be uttered would change my life forever. The chief saluted my mom and myself, “The United States of America regrets to inform you…” My mom started to cry. I knew something very bad had happened. I was right.
So much tyranny has been fought against through the years. From our WWI warriors to the young soldiers of WWII, sent overseas to save us from an inconceivable evil. They are truly ‘The Greatest Generation.’ Sadly we watch as so many of them depart us each day. Years later the Vietnam generation heeded their nation’s command. On September 11th, 2001 our beloved nation was attacked. Today we continue to fight for our most sacred possession. The right to live as a free people.
With freedom comes responsibility. Envied by many, challenged by some. We must never become complacent. We have a duty to preserve our way of life. It is how we repay our debt to our fathers and forefathers. It is ironic how people perceive freedom. So many take this precious gift for granted. Yet there are many others who are deeply grateful.
In the last six years I have had the opportunity to meet some really special people. Some have been celebrities or military figures. But a lot have been regular folk who just ‘get it.’ I’ve met a lot of other kids like myself and their families. It grieves me when I go to events such as TAPS, Arlington, dedications and memorials. There are a lot of people who have lost someone who can never be replaced. Because of my dad’s death, I have traveled to places and met people, I very well may never have. But I would trade all of that in a moment to get my dad back. Because none of that can fill the gap left in my heart when he died. My dad and I had many great memories that never will be forgotten. Although I get really sad sometimes, I am so thankful to have known my dad. Some children were born afterward and never got that chance. So when I see the flag waving or hear the Star-Spangled Banner or pledge my allegiance to the flag, I feel a real sense of pride. I truly hope our nation never forgets because I know I never will – FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!
Your Freedom Is Not Free Essay
1645 Words7 Pages
Freedom is more than a concept, it is an ideal with varied and complex subjective interpretations. Ideas concerning the liberty of body and soul are heavily connected to the formation of individual and cultural identity in American literary history. Certain nineteenth century American writers stand out for their real-life dedication to freedom and non-conformity for seeking to free themselves from whatever shackles limited them from reaching their potentials, both literally and figuratively. Henry David Thoreau, Fredrick Douglass, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are exemplary writers of the nineteenth century who strove to articulate not only the ideas of freedom and justice, but also the means by which these ideals, which they themselves acted…show more content…
However, it can be argued that the work of Thoreau and Douglass might be more in synch and offer a better pairing for comparative reading or analysis than does the more well-worn tandem of Emerson and Thoreau. In contrast to Emerson, the writings of Thoreau and Douglass are both significantly more didactic. Their writing is pithy, entertaining, and educational, where Emerson is more prescriptive. In an article which compares Thoreau and Douglass's respective arguments in support of the use of violence for justified protest, Jason Matzke points out that, though the writing of each makes the barest of reference to the other, their lives shared many commonalities, including:
They were roughly the same age, with Thoreau born in 1817 and Douglass born probably in 1818. They had a number of mutual friends and acquaintances, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Philips, Horace Greeley, Theodore Parker, Emerson, and John Brown;
They each spoke publicly for the anti-slavery cause (and in fact Thoreau delivered his well-known "Slavery in Massachusetts" while filling in for Douglass at a rally in Framingham, MA);
And they were each active with the underground railroad. (Matzke, 62)
A more relevant commonality, however, is that they both