by Alyssa Ayres

When the courageous men fought to free the American colonies from England so long ago, did they realize how much of an effect their bravery would have on a teenage girl living in Washington over 200 years later?  Did the men and women fighting for women's rights realize how much it would play into our society today? All the pain and hard work they persevered through has not gone to waste. Thanks to them, I have the freedom to go to school, voice my opinion, and worship according to the religion I choose. These are just a few of the many freedoms I have the right to practice because of the sacrifices of others.  One way I demonstrate my freedom is by going to school. Over seventy years ago women were expected to marry at a young age and have several children.  Unlike now, women back then were not given the chance to receive a high school education. Aside from reading and writing, women were discouraged from learning unless it would help them to run a household and raise a family. But today, women have just as much of an opportunity to become educated as men do. Many women are encouraged to continue after high school to get a college degree. In fact, in some professions, other than homemaking, women dominate the number of professionals in that career field.  Countless women and myself are free to practice the freedom of education and have the opportunity to work outside the home.  Another way I demonstrate my freedom is by voicing my opinion about government figures. In other countries, such as Cuba, if anyone spoke out about Fidel Castro his government would kill them. The same goes for the former Saddam Hussein regime. Post September 11th, many people have questioned President Bush's leadership abilities out loud, but none of them have been punished. When the Constitution was first being formed, the founders of the country recognized the importance of being able to express our ideas and opinions. So they established this freedom as a law for this country.  I can discuss my opinions about elected officials and the situations that arise in our country without fear because I have the freedom of speech. A third way I demonstrate my freedom is by practicing my religion as I please. In different countries, there is only one religion and you are required to worship it. Here in America we have a diverse population, and there are many different religions. Citizens of this country are free to choose the religion they want to worship and how they celebrate it. Instead of being told of who and what I must worship, I practice my freedom by attending the church I choose and by choosing to believe in God at all.  As you can see, there are many ways I can demonstrate my freedom with school, opinions of public officials, and religion, and with so many more ways. Too many people take their freedom for granted. In other countries people are able to see how blessed we really are. I am thankful for all the men and women of the past and present who have sacrificed for me to live a better life.

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