Taking freedom for granted
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
I have it easy. The biggest challenges I face each day are making it to class on time, trying not to get in a car wreck on my way to work and matching my socks.
I take freedom for granted.
The men and women who served in our armed forces made it possible to have such simple worries and concerns. They fought to defend my freedom on the front lines of the battlefield.
For more than two centuries, beginning with the American Revolution, men and women bled and died to obtain and preserve the liberties taken for granted today. The concerns these American soldiers have faced throughout history are very different from mine.
Would they have enough rations for the next day? Would they freeze to death in the night? Would they have the strength to hold off pressing forces? Would they lose a limb today from a precariously placed car bomb? Would they be alive tomorrow?
Because I did not see the bloodshed and hardship of war with my own eyes, I have been charmed into thinking freedom is an automatic part of life.
Sadly, this is not the truth. In fact, in China today, citizens do not possess the freedom of speech.
The Internet in China is closely monitored by the government. Message boards and social networking websites are censored to prevent any anti-government sentiment.
Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment in 2005 for releasing a document belonging to the Chinese Communist Party overseas to a Chinese democracy website. Yahoo! China handed over the journalist’s personal details to the government.
Li Zhi, Jiang Lijun and Wang Xiaoning all tried to promote democratic reform in China under the government’s radar. But all three are currently imprisoned in China after the government Intercepted messages they sent on the Internet.
People in other countries, such as the citizens of China, wish they had the freedom I take for granted.
Freedom was not a gift. It is not free. It was fought for and won by our founders.
If Americans spent one day as citizens of a country that lacks the freedoms we enjoy, they would have a better appreciation for the liberties we forget about everyday.
It’s easy to forget what a precious commodity freedom is, when one isn’t on the front lines as a soldier.
Many American men and women fought and died in my place. I owe the freedom to live a peaceful life, obtain a job and build a home with my family to the heroism of the individuals in the armed forces.
They have a hard job, so I can have a much easier one.