What Freedom Means to Me
We moved to this country from Poland, which was communist at the time in 1983. When I was young, I wrote poetry about how great it was to be free, feeling the significance, yet not quite understanding as a nine year old the magnitude of my amazing opportunity in this country. I have often felt other Americans did not value their freedom as much as I had, because it was something they were born having, and didn't know life any other way. I grew up during a time of civil unrest, with tanks passing by my home in order to keep people from revolting against the government. I was scared and I didn't understand why riots were breaking out in the middle of town and people were being gassed.
I was my daughter's age at the time. I officially became a citizen when I was in high school and it was one of the proudest days of my life. It meant to me that my freedom was official and permanent. There are people all over the world still today who wish for the same thing.
So, today, like every day, I feel grateful when I take time to reflect on what freedom means to me. I was one of the lucky ones who got that chance to live in a free country.
A day like today is a reminder, I hope, that freedom isn't free. It takes ongoing effort and sacrifice to keep it so.