What Price Freedom

What Price Freedom? 3,974 lives were lost between 1778 and 1781 in the American Revolutionary War. During the Civil War 600,000 more were sacrificed. In World War I, 57,476 lives lost. Such a large number, and for what? Is 661,450 the price of freedom? 661,450! And that isnt even including lives lost during the womens rights movement, the anti-slavery movement, or the civil rights movement. Not to mention wars Americans fought for the freedom of other countries! World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War! Can a single country, a culture, even one individual understand what sacrifice was made for this living generations freedom? With only 41% of Americans voting apparently the impact of what should be seen as a privilege has been lost in a sea of excuses and misguided opinions. The majority of Americans are descendents of, know descendents of, or personally know a veteran of war. Weve all heard the stories, and seen the movies, we even get two days off of work and school, but how many people know that Memorial Day Weekend is more than just a long weekend, and Veterans day isnt just another day off in November.

What most people dont realize is that it is only through the courage of young soldiers; through the guidance of their elders; through the support of this country that we have gained freedom. In recent generations it seems the novelty of this privilege of freedom has worn off. Statistics show that 59%, thats over half of Americans, do not vote in national elections. Freedom and democracy represent having a voice in how our country is ran. When someone participates in an election, just by taking the time to fill out a ballot, they are expressing their pride in their country and support in their forefathers. How is it that someone can claim to be an American, or complain about our government, when they have not taken an active role in voting, one of the most important privileges of being free? This hypocritical take on our government is simply an unattractive display of inattention. Not voting is not the only problem Americans have with showing national pride. The pettiness that the justice system is used for today could put any proud man, or woman to shame.

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I once heard that a woman sued a McDonalds because her coffee spilled on her lap and burned her skin. She claimed her coffee was too hot and she shouldve been warned. I do not remember the outcome, or if I had ever known how that case came out, but that is beside the point. This woman took advantage of and manipulated the laws and system that was made to protect her. Not only does this look bad on the country, but where has her pride gone? This has been a problem for at least a decade, I remember, even in fourth grade I took a satirical attitude toward the use of the justice system.

After being brushed up against, or having my toe stepped on I would jokingly say, Im going to sue you! When the constitution was written, Im sure it was not intended that our judicial system was to be manipulated for personal gain, but for protection of our rights. Obviously the loss of respect for our country is a problem, though it may not compare to world hunger, foreign trade, or even the problems were having with the national election process, a revival of national pride may open the doors to solving bigger, more complex problems. With a new sense of unity among our country we may be able to compromise bigger things, and spread a sense of unity farther than the US borders. Ive always believed that a smile spreads quickly so why wouldnt an idea, if just a couple of people started taking pride in their country, and doing their duty as an American, voting, respecting the land and the government, then their friends may take notice. When their friends take notice more people will realize the effect, and in the end hopefully we will find that the 41% of voters will rise in numbers.

Then our freedom, the American privilege will once again be realized as it was intended since the beginning of this country.