Sgt. Brian White is on his first deployment with Task Force Marne at COB Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. This essay was one of the entries for the Constitution Day essay contest held by Task Force Marne.
A character in the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves basically said that there are no perfect people, only perfect intentions. While the line is fairly recent, the concept is as ancient as humans. If anyone best understood how imperfect people are, it was the drafters of the United States Constitution. With such varied backgrounds, diverse ideas, and a common goal, our founders understood no one person had all the right answers. They knew it would take many generations worth of trial and error in every facet of life to accomplish the goals of freedom. As a living document, the Constitution allows for amendments to develop laws governing our nation as we change.
As American citizens, we each have freedoms and opportunities of which most countries only dream, such as the freedom to speak our mind, to worship as we see fit, and to demonstrate our needs for change through assembly. We have the freedom to find, follow and live our dreams to their fullest. While many individuals can be coarse, closed-minded, and fiercely protective of such traits, they have the right to speak their minds and learn from their mistakes.
With the freedom to stand up for and speak openly about our beliefs, our ideas strengthen our communities, which in turn strengthen our nation as a whole. With all the ideas we are free to express, each individual has many chances to hear that one phrase that gets his or her attention; that one speech that opens his or her heart forever. Without the freedom of speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality would never have been heard, and no one would have learned from it.
We each have the potential for greatness, but we tend limit ourselves by our own preconceptions. Diversity and compromise teach us to look beyond those preconceptions so that we can understand each other better. We learn to build trust through the bonds we form and overcoming the mistakes we make, enabling us to build a better society. The choice to move beyond preconceptions and embrace new ideas makes the efforts to improve society and the desire to do so stronger.
Tyrants view people as an expendable commodity in wars to protect a way of life benefiting few. Though the possibility of a draft still exists, the United States discovered unwilling defenders cannot compare with the strength of resolve of one defending his or her home and country willingly. Forming our country took the strength of both men and women, of all races and creeds, because we were free to learn what each unique talent any given individual had to offer. The freedoms we enjoy and wish to share with future generations convict American service personnel to protect and defend, sometimes with life’s last drop of blood.
The summation of what it means to be an American consists of hope. Freedom ensures we can hope and work for a better tomorrow. Throughout the course of our nation’s history, Americans have sought life and liberty, abolished destructive forms of governments, established laws for safety and the pursuit of happiness, and fulfilled their duty to provide new guards for their future security and their hope. Because of the freedom to hope, Americans have come a long way from oppression, and our progress as a community serves as a beacon for others to follow.