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Independence Day thoughts about America,
Freedom, and the Fourth of July (2002)

Mary Dominick, Nanty Glo

I think America is the greatest country on earth...It's a land of opportunity, and even though you might have been born poor, you have the opportunity to advance your life.


Jack Dominick, Nanty Glo

I appreciate America because I was in the military. I saw the devastation of World War Two; we are very fortunate because we have never had that kind of devastation on our soil.


Rich Hakanen, Nanty Glo (Sorry, photo lost.)

What America means to me..."I am free....I am so proud to be an american....we have our problems in this country... but I wouldn't trade it for any place in the world."

Barbara Kasecky, Nanty Glo

America is freedom that our men and women fought for. The Fourth of July is special to son was born on that day. God Bless the U.S.A.


Jonathan Kutchman, Cambria Township

Freedom is when women can walk around without covering their faces like in Afghanistan. My Mommy can go to work here and my Mommy can go to school here.


Tom Waltz, Nanty Glo

Why I Like Living in America *** I can do what I want to do without government interferance...practice religion, travel, and do what you want as long as you obey the laws.


Autumn Benson, York

What America Means to Me*** America or American.....In that single word, two very special words come out..."I can." America is the land of freedom and land of opportunity, which we should always remember and cherish.

Stephanie Marchu, Vinco (camera shy)

Freedom isn't free. It's a privilege and an honor to live this country. We have to appreciate what the veterans have done to keep us free. My family is very patriotic.

Herman BroschDonna Anderson, Ebensburg

America is the land of ultimate freedom and the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate our freedom and realize how lucky we are.


Herman BroschHerman Brosch, Revloc

Herman Brosch, 85, a World War Two veteran, was an Army Paratrooper captured by German military forces in July 1943 on the island of Sicily after an off-target air drop. "I was glad we were captured by the Regular German Army and not the Nazis... the Nazis would have killed us on the spot." Taken to Germany by train, Brosch and his fellow prisoners were made to work as farmhands on a 5000-acre farm and were treated humanely by their captors and the local German people. After 21 months of captivity, and the war nearly over, Brosch and his comrades were marched across Germany for six weeks in order to prevent them being conscripted into the Russian Army that was in pursuit. Mr. Brosch was captured when he was 27 years old and liberated at age 29 by American military forces on April 12,1945, the same day President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away. Expressing his feelings, he pauses and states, "America is the best place to live."


Bill Martin, Nanty Glo

Freedom 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.


Kim Lawrence, Nanty Glo

Freedom is being able to enjoy being with my family and celebrating the holiday....

The Rev. Marvin Lowery,
Mundys Corner

I 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.


Eric 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.

Karen Coleman, former local girl, US Army

Since 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.

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.

I 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.

What 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.

I 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.

SSG Karen R. Coleman
U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School
Department of Training, Plans and Evaluations
Enlisted Training Division
Fort Eustis, VA 23604-5421