When I think of freedom I think of the freedom found in Christ. That’s all good and true, but one of the first things God taught me about freedom was the patriotic kind. This was what I learned when I visited Washington D.C.
It was a little annoying to think of that kind of freedom because I hate politics. I don’t like keeping up with the presidential candidates (I don’t even know who they are). I don’t like listening to political debates, news, etc. It makes my skin crawl because of all the mud-slinging. When it’s time to vote, I find a reliable source to read the pros and cons of the issues on the ballot and read up on where each candidate stands.
I pretty much hope we can just shut up every politician. Instead of speeches, they would fill out a form stating what issues they support and which ones they don’t support, plus a list of things/programs they want to place into effect if they’re in office, and maybe a personality quiz or two.
Recently I saw “Beyond the Mask” and it reminded me of my time in D.C., hearing about and learning the history of the United States. It reminded me of how much fight went on for our freedom, and how much fight there continues to be.
Freedom isn’t actually free. We need to fight for it, strive for it, and persevere towards it. But freedom can be a gift. That doesn’t mean it’s free. A gift may be something free for the receiver, but not for the giver. A gift always costs someone something.
I’ve only lived in the United States for five years before 9/11 happened. Before that horrible day and the months that followed, I only thought of America as Disneyland and better air quality. That day didn’t just change travel policies and the economy. It gave a lot of people a sense of patriotism.
Walking from the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, I realized that a lot of people fight for our freedom everyday. They fight so that most of us would think of country and think Disneyland, better air quality, a favorite sports team, or Starbucks.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate the sacrifice of our service men and women. It’s not that we’re not grateful for the people who do their best to make sure the law and policies protect us.
It is actually a testament of their commitment and dedication that when we think of our country, we think of the things we enjoy. By fighting for freedom, they gave us the gift of freedom.
And to that, I can only say thanks. Thank you for deploying overseas because I can’t. Thank you for dealing with politics because I can’t. Thank you for fighting for freedom. I know it costs you something, and even if I can never imagine how big that cost is, I thank you anyway.