September 22, 2007


When posed the question of what freedom meant, a 10-year-old student's entry to the Weekly Reader's Operation Tribute to Freedom essay contest gave a thoughtful response, uncharacteristic of a mind that might ordinarily turn to skateboards, baseball and video games.

Text of Kevin Young's Winning Essay, "Freedom"

I am a ten-year-old boy living in the United States of America — a country that stands for freedom. Today, I woke to the chirping of birds. On the other side of the world, another boy is waking up to the frightening sound of blasting bomb.

It was a time to go to school so I chose to wear a T-shirt and shorts because I could make that decision. On the other side of the world, a young girl had a choice, too. She could wear a veil or get whipped.

Then I went to school to learn about our world, including math, English, history and science and technology. I was learning how to make the world a better place. On the other side of the world, a boy was learning how to fight in combat and survive or be killed. For the girl, school was not allowed. But she wanted to learn. So she went to school in secret, but was taking a big risk.

After school, I went to play soccer and visited with all of my friends. On the other side of the world, the boy and girl went and tried to earn some money or went to look for food and water for their family.

At night, as I slept in my nice, warm bed, I dreamed of a world filled with freedom for the little boy and girl on the other side of the world.

* I thought that this essay was worth sharing. It makes me realize, once again, that we must never take for granted the freedom that we have in this country.