Friday, July 04, 2008

The Freedom to Write

by G.Parker

The 4th of July is an awesome day. I've loved this day of the year since I was a kid and discovered fireworks. I have to admit, though, that the idea of what it meant was lost to me most of the time until I was a teenager. When I was 16 it was 1976 and the bicentennial of our country. Talk about patriotism! The whole country was wrapped up in celebrating it, and my community was no different. We had a blast, with parties and fireworks and BBQ's.

Now that I'm an adult with children of my own, we've tried to make it a real family day. We have also tried to stress the importance of what the day stands for. Today, being a writer has even more significance, because where we live enables us to write pretty much whatever we want. We have the freedom of speech.

Of all the freedoms we enjoy, I rank that up there among the top five. Most of us have read something that makes us angry, insults us, or causes us to take action. There are many places in the world where that wouldn't be possible. While we may get angry with how the media handles things in our nation, we have to be grateful that we have the right to express our feelings as well. We CAN write letters to the editors of newspapers and complain about how they handle their headline stories. We are able to write our senators and congressmen and let them know where we stand on issues and complain about what they are doing or thank them for the stand they are taking.

And it's because of the brave men and women in our military that have continued the fight for those rights that we have what we have.

I come from a long line of military men, as does my husband. My father was a Ranger on the beach on D-Day. My grandfather was in the Navy (unfortunately I have no idea what...grin) My second father was in Korea in the Marines. My brother was in the Air Force, and I have several nephews who have joined the Marines, Army and Navy.

Now my son has joined the ranks of the reserves -- Army Reserve. He has felt strongly for some time that he needed to be among those who make a difference. He was proud of the history involved with his ancestors, and wanted to do something that they would be proud of. He also likes to write.

He feels that the freedoms we enjoy are precious and worth risking his life to preserve. Especially freedom of speech, along with freedom of religion.

I’m very thankful we have these rights, that we live in this amazing country and have been blessed by a loving Father in Heaven.

On the flip side of this coin, is the idea that we have, therefore, a responsibility.

It is up to us to make the facts known, the right truths come to light and that our rights are respected. As LDS writers, not only do we need to hone our craft and become the best writers in our fields, but we need to express our concerns and be involved in our nations government. If we sit back and live in our own little worlds, it will fall down around our ears because there are many who would use our rights against us. Every day we see the media used to twist the truth, tell baldfaced lies and try to shape the opinions of our nation.

While there are many times we feel nothing we do makes a difference, I think we still need to have hope. Every blog we write that holds truth, every newspaper we write and get printed is a step in the right direction and every letter written to our government official lets them know that we are listening -- we are there, and we are going to try and do something about the world around us.

We are free -- therefore we write.

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