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‘What Freedom Means To Me’

Schwanz writes fourth-place essay for Sertoma contest

April 25, 2011
Messenger News

Hailey Schwanz

Phillips Middle School

Mr. Newman

Fourth Place

$50 Savings Bond

"Freedom is the last, best hope on earth," Abraham Lincoln once said. To this day, his words still ring true. Many people today take freedom for granted. Some even think of freedom as unimportant or overrated. The reality of it is they are wrong, and maybe that's because they don't know what freedom means to them. Freedom is, in my eyes, being yourself, having freedom of speech, and equality.

Being yourself is a basic expression of freedom. When you are being yourself, you're releasing pieces of you that were locked up before. From what I've experienced, people who show their true selves are often happier, and things are a lot more fun for them. People always want something from you. Everybody has their own image of you, and it's in your best interests if you ignore it and be who you know you are. Wear what YOU want to wear. Go where YOU think you should go. Say what YOU want to say.

Freedom of speech is a right we are all given in this country. One of America's greatest quirks is that you are allowed an opinion and a voice to speak it. In some countries, people who speak their minds are severely punished. They could be jailed for life, or even be killed. Why should you hold back your ideas? Share your ideas and opinions with others, because they may agree. You may find things in common with people who you once thought were terribly different.

Another big part of freedom is equality. Equality is important because it means people of all races are accepted. The disabled are accepted just as much as the able, and people of all heights, ages and religions are accepted. In the past, America has had problems with equality. Our country is not the only one who has struggled, and many people have suffered for it. People who practiced the Jewish belief and African-Americans are just two examples. I believe this world is slowly moving toward a more accepting society, and look forward to the day where everybody can walk down the street without being insulted. I strongly believe there is no such thing as "normal," because nobody is the same. If nobody is the same, how can parents tell their children, "Act normal!"? How can we judge others because they are not "normal?" Equality means that everybody is equal, no matter how different we are.

With all that said, I would like to conclude this with a few parting thoughts. Every time you're true to yourself, use your freedom of speech, or practice equality, you are using your freedom. Without freedom, we would be nothing.



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