The Price for Freedom

At the end of the school year, my son promoted from 8th grade. At the beginning of the ceremony, the choir sang the national anthem while everyone stood with their hands over their heart.

I have always felt such pride in what that song as well as the Pledge of Allegiance stands for. As I helped my little kids stand, the first two rows of people in front of us just sat down during the song.

I have to admit that it made me angry. I felt as if everyone in attendance could at least stand to show respect for the soil they stand on that allows their child the freedom to attend school and gain an education within the borders of the United States of America.

As I reflect on all those who have given their lives to maintain and protect our freedom not only here in America but throughout the world, I just cannot understand those who do not show the same respect.

You may not share the same political beliefs as I do but I hope anyone that values home and family can agree that the price of freedom is high.

I have lost loved ones on the battlefields of war. Yes, I might not of ever met them because they died before I was born, but because of their unselfish service, I am free to live in a country where I have the precious ability to choose.

I guess that same freedom protects those that sat through the national anthem. Yet, at the same time it makes me feel as if they could care less for those that have died to preserve our freedom. It feels as if they are disrespecting something I hold very dear to my heart. Almost like a “slap in the face” to my great Uncle who put it all on the line in Korea.

Although we live in a world where evil and injustices are found everywhere, I am still proud to be an American. The rights and freedoms I enjoy today came at the price of the blood of millions of Americans since the birth of this great nation

I hope that I can not only remember their sacrifice everyday but take an active role in preserving the freedom of liberty. I want my children and future generations to have the same opportunities to choose as I have had while growing up in America.

My husband was not as fortunate as I was.  He was born outside of the United States and his early childhood was not full of peace but violence, death and tragedy.  He is an immigrant from El Salvador. He fled his homeland at the age of eight years old with his mother and older brother. They came to America so that they could find the peace and freedom that was not found in their country of birth.

My husband does not talk much about his young years growing up in El Salvador but the few things he has shared with me has brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart. No child should be subjected to the injustice of war, evil, hate and violence.

In my ignorance as a teen, I am sad to recall laughing as jokes were shared about recent changes in immigration laws. My inability to stand up for all of God’s children caused heartache for my future husband and his family.

I will never forget the time my husband was able to finally be sworn in as an American citizen. He spoke to about 100 people along with the justice of the court as he shared his story.

He spoke about the men and women that made it possible for freedom to reign in this land. He was able to flee a land where his freedom was limited and come to a land of choices and opportunities.

I find it ironic that a few weeks after he became a citizen, our home was robbed. Along with many other electronics, my camera was stolen which had the pictures and video of his swearing in ceremony. His recently enjoyed freedoms as a citizen were taken away through the dishonesty of others.

The price for freedom must be fought for everyday not so much on the battlefield although that happens too, but the preparation for battle begins in the home where children can learn to love their country and understand why we are blessed with the freedom to choose.

As we celebrate the 4th of July and reflect upon why we celebrate this holiday, we can read about a similar story found in history.  There is a story of a military and spiritual leader that raised a banner similar to the American flag.  On this particular flag he wrote, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.”  Not much different than what the American flag stands for today.

When I was in elementary school, I attended a school called “Carpenter, Home of the Patriots.”  I still remember the song and cheer we learned that has great significance to this idea of freedom.  I can’t track down the lyrics anywhere so this is the best that my memory can remember about 30 years ago.

“Oh, sing to C.C. Carpenter, where children learn about our land.  Sing to our America, home of … grand.  As children do let us take a stand for freedom to reign in our land.  Let the red, white and blue proudly wave on high, a banner in the sky.  Oh sing all children everywhere who love their school so dear.  Who live and learn and work as one to our school let us give a cheer.  Carpenter, Carpenter Yea! Carpenter.”

May we all remember to cheer not only today but everyday for “freedom to reign in our land!”

My amazing kindergarten teacher who began my love of art and country at C.C. Carpenter Elementary!