is *** The ability to come and go at any time, to any place where the general
public is permitted to go...all of this is done here in America without fear of
reprisal from police or others of authority.
Lawrence, Nanty Glo|
is being able to enjoy being
with my family and celebrating the holiday....
Rev. Marvin Lowery,
thank my God for the blessings He has made possible in the privilege of my being
an American, freedom of worship of my God, and living in a manner much of the
world would love to possess. It means gratitude to my forefathers and my God.
I am proud to be an American.
Bugosh, 12, Cambria Township, Boy Scout
I like living
in America because we have freedom and good armed forces to keep our country safe,
and America is the greatest place in the world to live in because of the freedoms.
Coleman, former local girl, US Army
being in the Army, I've had a chance to learn what freedom really is. A valuable
lesson I never learned in my local school system but one that it is the most important
lesson of all. I saw how ethnicity divides a country and the devastation that
makes its citizens suffer. I saw war-torn Bosnia Herzegovina with its children
with missing limbs, playing in mine fields while living in bombed-out shelters
that used to be their homes. I saw the devastated city of Sarajevo that housed
the Olympics not many years ago with "Sniper Alley" and the bullet-ridden
airport where passengers once disembarked. I witnessed every piece of land filled
to capacity with headstones, including a soccer stadium, because there was nowhere
else to put the dead.
saw the Concentration Camp of Dachau, Germany, with the unclean fire pits since
the time they were last used (the Holocaust). I had a chance to stand at the same
gate that others stood at to read the same thing they never read on the way out:
“Macht Frei.” I had a chance to visit Hitler’s vacation home, the Eagle’s Nest
in Bavaria, to see how he was treated as royalty while he slaughtered millions
of people. I saw the platforms that Germany constructed all over the place so
he could stand to observe his troops marching to their deaths. I had a chance
to walk through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and witness what East Germany looked
like after the wall came down.
had a chance to watch Serbians stockpile surface-to-air missiles for later use,
even though I was a part of the International Peace Keeping Force with no bullets
in my M-60 machine gun while flying in my CH-47D Chinook.
had a chance to fly along the DMZ in South Korea and first-hand know why that
war is not truly over. I was able to watch an innocent dog repeatedly cross the
line between those two countries while thinking that if that was me I wouldn’t
see my foot hit the ground to take another step. The North Koreans would shoot
me before my foot would come down.
don’t have to visit Washington D.C. to pay respect to those who have fought for
the cost of freedom…I simply travel eight miles to Yorktown and visit the battlefields
with the trenches still there to know what freedom is.
freedom means to me is immeasurable in words. It’s a feeling I get when I hear
the Star-Spangled Banner, saluting the American flag or seeing a war veteran limping
into the commissary on a military base. It’s those things that make me wonder
if everyone else takes the time to notice, to truly understand what others have
paid for our freedoms. To find the cost of freedom is remembering those who have
fought, suffered, and since perished so that I can wake up in my house, in my
democratic city so I can vote in a country that enables us to have so many rights
we simply cannot take for granted. The lesson I learned about freedom came from
being in the US Army.
am grateful I am an American and will honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice
for me. Our freedoms were never free…and are never guaranteed.
Karen R. Coleman
U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School
Department of Training,
Plans and Evaluations
Enlisted Training Division
Fort Eustis, VA 23604-5421