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The News Editorial: Remembering those who fought for our freedoms

“When did we stop being the land of the brave and home of the free? When did freedom stop?”

Those questions were asked of me on Monday during an interview with Democratic candidate for governor Terry Livingston of Worland.

The questions are fitting as we head into this Memorial Day weekend, when on Monday, we honor and remember our brave men and women in the military who served, fought and died in sacrifice for their country. They sacrificed fighting for our freedoms here in the United States of America and for freedoms for others in their country.

So what is freedom and have we lost it or do we just not choose to exercise our rights? Do we take our freedom for granted? Do we want freedom, but want to restrict others?

Merriam-Webster has several definitions of freedom including “the quality or state of being free such as the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery; unrestricted use; the quality of being frank, open or outspoken; a political right.”

Some think of freedom as the “unrestricted use,” freedom to do whatever they want, say whatever they want, no matter the consequences.

Others see freedom as their right, freedom of religion for their chosen religion, freedom of speech so long as it agrees with them.

I believe it is the latter that Livingston may have been questioning this week. We have not lost our freedoms in this country. The First Amendment is still there, standing strong. I have the freedom to publish what I wish whether it is for or against the government. Many reporters in the world do not have that freedom.

I have the freedom to vote in this country, many women in other countries do not have that freedom.

I have the freedom to voice my opinion on politics, religion, movies, books, music, fashion, and anything else, whether it be in my own home, here on this page in the newspaper or downtown in the middle of the street.

You also have that right, even if it differs from my opinion. And, you know what. I am more than OK with that because THAT is what makes this country great.

We need a free exchange of ideas, we need to be able to listen to others opinion, to learn why they view something a certain way.

We may never understand why some people refuse to watch even one Star Wars movie, or why some people think NASCAR is not a sport. But we live in a country where they have the freedom to watch what they want and to believe what they want.

Freedom for all is not free and does come at a cost. So this weekend as you enjoy time off and exercise some of your freedoms, remember those who fought and died to ensure those freedoms are upheld.

--Karla Pomeroy

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