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Curled up in my comfortable chair warm and cozy against the blowing wind and pounding rain outside, I finished another book about our country’s history and the early settlers that came to this country many years ago. They started with nothing but worked long hours in difficult and dangerous environments in order to be free. It was not an easy life. But they knew what it was like to live under suffocating rules and taxes and they thrived in the ability to work hard, be independent and free.

There is a tendency to romanticize the stories and accounts we have of historical times. But when we remove the rose colored glasses and look at the raw data, we see within these stories real people who lived and fought and died for their beliefs.

Freedom is never cheap or easy. It requires sacrifice, hard work and hard choices.

I am a history buff. We can learn from history. Yet I see the same patterns repeated over and over again. Men thirst for power and once they have drunk from its well, they are ready to do anything to maintain it. So, it is even more amazing that when we won our independence so many years ago, the men who designed our constitution laid aside personal power and gain and came before God with a desire to create a republic that was not governed by a king or dictator – but by the people themselves.

Today people in other countries are rioting in the streets, once again willing to sacrifice everything to be free.

What would you do to be free? What would you sacrifice? And what is freedom anyway?

Freedom means we have the opportunity to make goals and work hard to accomplish them. It is taking a dream – an idea – and developing it into something productive and useful.  We can fail and pick ourselves up and try again and again.  It is living a life without unreasonable restrictions and without the fear of someone taking what we have earned away from us. It allows within the fair justice of law the ability to exercise free will and self-determination. It enables us to govern our lives without fear of domination or imprisonment. It is earned and maintained.

What does freedom mean to you?

When life throws us one disappointment, loss and struggle after another it is easy to get discouraged and give up. But when I am the most tired, I ask myself, would I give up the struggle to make life work in order to get something I have not earned?

The answer is no. Because when I buy into the idea that I am owed something, I lose my freedom. I have now become dependent on someone else. I have lost my personal power. I have been made a slave.  And I love freedom.

Marlene Anderson

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