What Does Freedom Mean?

Amid the bombast of the fireworks, the festivities of the family cookout and the splashy hubbub of the pool party on Independence Day, you might take a minute to think about what #freedom means. Few of these celebrations would be possible without it — or at least they might not be nearly so joyous.

Too often, the word “freedom” is misused in service to a partisan position, author, Afghanistan war correspondent and documentarian Sebastian Junger told Military Times upon the 2021 release of his book, Freedom. “Freedom comes with responsibility. Freedom means freedom from oppression, not freedom from obligation.”

While The Organizing Blog regularly talks about freedom from #clutter, true freedom is an all-encompassing imperative. Even as you thank a #veteran, remember that you, too, are in the fight. Be wary of those who misuse the term in service to an ideology that seeks to undermine it, and join in the work to guarantee that every person in America is equally entitled to lead a life of liberty.

“Freedom is being able to come out of your house and do what you want to do,” Maryland veteran Harrison “Lumpy” Johnson told the Severna Park Voice in 2015. “People complain all the time about the country and where we are headed. We have freedoms other countries do not have. When The Star-Spangled Banner plays, it gets me.”

The concept is not lost on children. “Freedom to me is being able to go school to get an education, to go to church to practice my religion, to have a house to call a home,” wrote Kylar Thomas, winner of the Manistee (Michigan) VFW’s 2015 Patriots Pen contest. “These are just a few of the things we have in the United States that some countries cannot do freely. That is why many people from other countries want to move to the United States.

“We are a country that has brave men and women who have fought to protect these rights. They know first-hand how important it is to be thankful and to protect our freedom,” Thomas noted in his essay. “We need to be grateful for all they do and the sacrifices they made for our country.”

The definition of freedom may be just a little bit different for every person in the good ’ol U.S. of A. It’s a melting pot of cultures and attitudes — people working together toward a brighter future. That’s what makes the country great and free. Remember to celebrate that fact in the weeks ahead.

Happy Fourth of July from the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org!

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