Freedom Essay Winners
Alyssa Christoffers, Moorhead MN
Miles Hofer, Huron SD
Team entry (2 person) into the Wounded Warriors Ice Tournament, Woodland Resort Devils Lake ND January 15/16. Lodging included at Woodland Resort. (Gear provided if needed) Publication in Dakota Country Magazine, and local newspapers. An opportunity to read your submission on American Heroes Outdoors TV.
- Top 5 submissions will receive an American Heroes Outdoors T-Shirt and Decal
- All participants will receive an American Heroes Outdoors Decal
Freedom is different for everyone. Tell us what it means to you and let us know why you have the freedom you do today.
Recently American Heroes Outdoors TV along with Woodland Resort and Dakota Country Magazine sponsored a writing contest for youth. The writers only guideline was to talk about what freedom means to them.
All too often freedom is overcomplicated with analysis and abused as an excuse for one’s actions. By limiting the age group for the contest we were able to bring freedom back to the basics.
The raw wisdom and honesty in the essays made reading them very special… which in turn made selecting a winner difficult. In our eyes every single submission was worthy of a blue ribbon and we were proud to read their thoughts. However, for the sake of the contest we whittled it down to two and from there we decided to choose two winners.
Both Alyssa’s and Miles’ entries talked about freedom and what the word itself meant. They both talked about specific examples in their own lives but one thing remained the same, just as it had in all the other entries: Writers talked about the price paid for freedom. They talked about Heroes who have sacrificed for our freedom.
Someone once defined a Hero as, “An ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage, honor, and self-sacrifice.” They couldn’t be more right, and as we read essay after essay we realized that our writers nailed it. No matter what freedom means to each of us there are people who will do anything necessary to secure that freedom. This selflessness is why we are the greatest nation in the world.
As Veterans Day draws near we would like to offer these essays as a way of saying thank you to so many men and women who have sacrificed for freedom.
American Heroes Outdoors TV is a Television series operated by a non-profit company that showcases veterans, police, first responders and veterans organizations. It focuses on their stories and show viewers the amazing aspects of the great outdoors.
Check us out at americanheroesoutdoors.com
What Freedom Means to my Family
by Miles Hofer, 9
Parents, Becky and Toby Hofer
Freedom means many things to my family.
My dad, my mom and I all have different ideas of freedom. Dad believes freedom is to snowmobile and to hunt. Freedom means you can go to different churches. He says many families don’t get to do that in other countries.
My mom says freedom means that no matter where you come from you have a chance to make your own future. Mom thinks freedom means opportunity. Mom thinks that God gave everybody free will.
I say freedom is an opportunity that most countries don’t have yet, but I think about those soldiers as heroes. Freedom of speech and freedom of protest are in America’s laws. Not every country has that.
Freedom means many things to my family. I am happy because I have freedom. I am thankful to are troops for protecting are freedom. America is land the free because of the brave.
by Alyssa Chirstoffers, 13
Mom is Collette Christoffers
Freedom to me means pride. We take pride in what we fight for. We are proud in our nation. Our flag symbolizes our country and we are proud in all of the wars and conflicts we have overcome throughout the years.
The song “I’m Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood says in its lyrics “ ‘cause the flag still stands for freedom”.
Our nation’s flag reminds me of the people who fought and are fighting for our country and our freedom. I remember singing this song in elementary school, and when the song hit the chorus, all the kids would belt it out. I felt pride in those moments.
I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not be free. I’ve lived in the United States all of my life and I don’t realize how good my life is. When I hear about other country’s conflict and what they are going through, I’m glad I live in the United States and that I have the rights I do.
I’m proud of our nation and I’m proud of the soldiers who fight and fought for our country. America is a great and awesome nation, and I’m proud to be part of it. We should all be proud in our nation and we should be proud to be an American.
Brandi Anderson is an 8th grade student at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona Beach, Florida, and was the winner of the AMVETS Post 911’s “What Freedom Means to Me” Essay Contest. Brandi and her family were guests of Freedom Alliance at the Hannity Freedom Concert in Orlando, Florida, in August 2010.
Brandi’s father, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Anderson, was killed by enemy fire while serving in Iraq in 2004. Her father was the inspiration behind the essay, and with Brandi’s permission, we would like to share it with you below.
WHAT IT MEANS TO ME
by Brandi Anderson
Free-dom (free-dem) n. 1. The state or quality of being free; a) exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or arbitrary power; liberty; independence b) being able to act, move, use etc. without hindrance or restraint, confinement or repression.
Freedom. What a beautiful word. A gift endowed upon us. Our birthright as an American citizen. Freedom has a very special meaning to me. I know what the price of freedom is. It does not come without a very high cost. Every man, woman, and child who lies their head down each night in peace, does so because some other American, at some time, layed down their life for them. I know this because I lost my dad in Iraq on May 2nd, 2004. He was a Navy Seabee sent there to help rebuild a country. He was killed, along with six of his fellow comrades when their camp was mortared. I will never forget the day that the Naval Chief and Chaplain showed up at my front door. I was only seven at the time but the words about to be uttered would change my life forever. The chief saluted my mom and myself, “The United States of America regrets to inform you…” My mom started to cry. I knew something very bad had happened. I was right.
So much tyranny has been fought against through the years. From our WWI warriors to the young soldiers of WWII, sent overseas to save us from an inconceivable evil. They are truly ‘The Greatest Generation.’ Sadly we watch as so many of them depart us each day. Years later the Vietnam generation heeded their nation’s command. On September 11th, 2001 our beloved nation was attacked. Today we continue to fight for our most sacred possession. The right to live as a free people.
With freedom comes responsibility. Envied by many, challenged by some. We must never become complacent. We have a duty to preserve our way of life. It is how we repay our debt to our fathers and forefathers. It is ironic how people perceive freedom. So many take this precious gift for granted. Yet there are many others who are deeply grateful.
In the last six years I have had the opportunity to meet some really special people. Some have been celebrities or military figures. But a lot have been regular folk who just ‘get it.’ I’ve met a lot of other kids like myself and their families. It grieves me when I go to events such as TAPS, Arlington, dedications and memorials. There are a lot of people who have lost someone who can never be replaced. Because of my dad’s death, I have traveled to places and met people, I very well may never have. But I would trade all of that in a moment to get my dad back. Because none of that can fill the gap left in my heart when he died. My dad and I had many great memories that never will be forgotten. Although I get really sad sometimes, I am so thankful to have known my dad. Some children were born afterward and never got that chance. So when I see the flag waving or hear the Star-Spangled Banner or pledge my allegiance to the flag, I feel a real sense of pride. I truly hope our nation never forgets because I know I never will – FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!