On this July 4th, there is much to celebrate about. In addition to freedom from tyranny, the facts that I as a woman, an immigrant, and a person of color can have a terrific education and career, can drive, own property, and move about freely are among other reasons to celebrate.
The recent war and civil unrests in the Middle East are new reminders that freedom is not free. The 1776 Declaration of Independence that our Founding Fathers established requires continual sacrifice to defend and actualize. Here’s a bleak sample:
- American Revolutionary War- 25,000 deaths and 25,000 wounded
- Civil War – 360,000 deaths and 280,000 wounded (Union)
- World War I – 120,00 deaths and 200,000 wounded
- World War II – 410,000 deaths and 670,000 wounded
Source: “United States military casualties of war,” Wikipedia (as of 7/4/2011)
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE – BEYOND MILITARY
In addition to our military, I am reaping the fruits of the sacrifices of those in the women’s right and civil rights movement. Despite the demands of their careers, families and hobbies, these citizens responded to the greater cry for freedom and justice.
Like them, you and I – our generation – are faced with a desperate cry for freedom. It’s coming from the children being enslaved and sold on our streets and the internet, and from the women and men stripped of human dignity exploited as slaves in our fields, hotels, factories, and homes.
Their enslavement is not just morally wrong, its very presence threatens the core principles of our Declaration of Independence. For all these reasons, we like the generations before us must fight. We must make the sacrifice. Will you?