Freedom essay contest winner

What Freedom Means To Me

Gretta Leigh

Phillips Middle School, Second Place

An early twentieth century preacher named Peter Marshall once said, “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do what we please, but the opportunity to do what is right.” He was correct. Freedom means more than just ‘I can do whatever I want,’ it stands for something greater than that. Our country was founded on freedom, and there are people fighting for it every day. Freedom means opportunity and choices, but it also comes with responsibility.

In the United States, everyone has the choice to be and do what they want. I can make small choices like what to wear and when to eat. I can also make larger choices like who to vote for and where to live. I can choose my career, who I marry what college I attend and pretty much my whole future. Some countries don’t have that freedom. Women are forced to cover their faces, people don’t get to choose what they eat or when, couples aren’t allowed to have as many children as they want, they get their careers chosen for them, and there are arranged marriages. The list goes on and on. There are even countries that sentence their people to death without any evidence of wrongdoing.

Another thing freedom means is opportunity. We have the opportunity to meet new people, express ourselves and to be successful in life. If I wanted to be a doctor freedom gives me the opportunity to get a good education, earn a degree, and with hard work, become a doctor. Almost every opportunity I have ever had is due to the freedom I have enjoyed. It gives us the chance to fulfill our dreams through opportunity.

Freedom is a great thing, but it comes with the responsibility to use it wisely. Your freedom should not interfere with another’s and if it does, you might not deserve that freedom. Nelson Mandela once said “For to be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. We have laws and law-enforcement because some people lack the responsibility to use their freedom appropriately. If less people took it for granted, fewer people would get it taken away.

Most citizens of this country can agree that freedom is a good thing. It allows us to make our own choices and it gives us opportunities for success and happiness. It should be appreciated and cherished, and never taken for granted. Freedom is the basis for the American way of life.