Sunday, July 23, 2017

Freedom: Our Most Precious National Treasure

We have spoken on the idea of freedom time and time again. In the research of our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, among the questions asked to people of different backgrounds, gender and socio-economic levels, was "what is liberty?". All had a common definition that liberty was the freedom to choose. This concept of liberty and freedom is abstract, but not for Vice Admiral James Stockdale.  He was a prisoner of war for eight years in Hanoi, Vietnam after being shot down in September of 1965.

In the years following his release, Vice Admiral Stockdale did much writing and speeches in regards to his experience as a POW.  An article titled Freedom: Our Most Precious National Treasure (the title used for this blog), was published by Parade Publications, Inc. on June 29, 1980. Vice Admiral Stockdale reflects on the average American who experiences freedom as an abstraction, while he, after spending time in a prison without such freedom, grew to understand freedom having a "delicious and tangible" meaning.

Below is an excerpt of the article that we hope will bring light to freedom to make its value more an appreciated and dear gift, rather than an unchallenged entitlement.

[M]y appreciation of its [freedoms] preciousness stems from a first-hand understanding of its rarity. The void of freedom in other parts of the world - and particularly the passivity with which this lack is accepted - is staggering to a man who is born and raised free. In my Hanoi cell, I found myself daily picking up shocking signals in that milieu of deadened sensitivities. Like these:

-The routine feedlot attitude of the simple peasant guards who delivered daily food rations down the line to cooped-up humans, fowl and livestock, with expressionless unconcern for the continual darkness, suffocating closeness, and isolation in which the chickens, pigs and men were confined.
-The continuous barking of loudspeakers on the street telling the people of Hanoi what to think. 
-The pathetic ignorance behind outburst of a prominent political cadre who shouted to me in a moment of exasperation: "We may not have freedom, but after 4000 years we have order, and we will settle for that."

We, as Americans, should not settle for ‘order’. We, as Americans, must fight to keep our freedom and ensure that sweet liberty for our posterity.

No comments:

Post a Comment