There are many freedoms that all Americans enjoy solely because of the geographic location of our birth. We are privileged to have had men and women come before us who tirelessly worked to build a better tomorrow, sacrificed their wealth to preserve the way of life they had enjoyed so their children could do the same, or those who have mourned their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters who gave their lives in battle, preserving the very freedoms we sometimes take for granted today. In light of this Memorial Day holiday, I challenge you to remember those who came before us and to be cognizant of various freedoms we enjoy because of them.
Obviously, there are a great number of freedoms that we have and certainly more than could be placed in this short essay. So, in light of that, I will attempt to classify and define our most common freedoms. There seem to be three basic types of freedoms; endowed freedoms, granted freedoms, and personal freedoms.
Endowed freedoms are those bestowed upon us, as indicated by our Founding Fathers in their Declaration of Independence. These are described as inalienable – or those that cannot be taken from us – because these freedoms were not given to us by someone or something. These are freedoms (or rights) that each person is born with; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These rights serve as the basis of all of our freedoms, rights, laws, culture, and society.
Secondly, granted freedoms are those freedoms given to us by our Government. These freedoms are outlined in broad terms within the United States Constitution and further defined within the individual “many States” Constitutions and municipalities, each varying depending on the State or municipality in which you choose to live. The first ten amendments to the Constitution define the freedoms that we, the individual, enjoy as granted by our federal government. We have the freedom of religion, to have our voice and opinion heard publicly, to peaceably assemble, to own firearms, to personal privacy, freedom from unlawful searches, to due process, to a trial by jury, and freedom from cruel or unusual punishment. All other freedoms that are not specifically mentioned within the first eight amendments or within the Constitution are retained by us or by us and the States.
Finally, personal freedoms are those that we allow ourselves (and our children or families) to enjoy. They include the ability to choose what possessions we acquire, what we eat, what we choose as entertainment, or what level of success we strive to attain. We have the freedom to choose our faith – or choose to have no faith at all; that we choose to love – or choose to love no one; or that we choose to care for each other – or to care only for ourselves. These freedoms are the most intimate, the most personal, and the most cherished. These are those freedoms that many a person has died preserving.
In my relatively short adult life, I have had the privilege of serving in our United States Navy, during which I traveled to more the fifteen separate countries. Each country contained a certain beauty, a distinct culture and a unique history. But nowhere on this planet is freedom better demonstrated as the standard of life than the United States. Each of our freedoms and rights are only possible because of our past soldiers, sailors, and airmen have jealously and selflessly fought and died to preserve them. They have left those freedoms for us to guard and preserve, now that they had passed on. For this, they deserve remembrance.
I pray you and your families have a blessed Memorial Day.