I have some very strong feelings about the responsibility we all have as citizens of a free nation.I think it sometimes takes an experience where freedoms are limited to fully appreciate what our freedom blesses us with. I had such an experience when we adopted our children from Russia. The moment we landed in Russia – it became clear that our freedoms were not the same. Being escorted off of our airplane by armed men in military uniforms and locked in a room at the “airport” on one leg of our journey while our plane was being prepared for further travel quickly taught me to appreciate the freedoms of my native country. I had once thought service men returning home and kissing the ground as they stepped on U.S. soil a little strange. Yet, as we returned home from Russia and set foot on U.S. soil once again – I fervently desired to do the very same thing. I will never take my freedom or the American flag for granted ever again. Our freedom to shape government, our lives, and to worship according to the dictates of our conscience is not something we should take for granted. We each have a responsibility to our families, communities, and our country to use our personal freedoms in positive, uplifting ways. When we use our freedom simply for self-gratification – we are not using our freedom well or wisely. We should never take our freedom for granted and we need to recognize that many individuals and families have made great sacrifices and many have died so that we might enjoy our freedom. For me, that means freedom brings with it certain inherent responsibilities. Freedom is not a free ride at the expense of others – it is an invitation for everyone to do his or her part so that each of us collectively and individually can pursue the dream of bettering our lives, our families, and our country.
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