The Odyssey

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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


Voice of Democracy 2023 – 3rd place

What are the greatest attributes of our democracy?

“Life without Liberty is like a body without spirit” (Kahlil Gibran.) I’m going to be honest when I read this prompt I was just stuck. What are the greatest attributes to our democracy? I’ve done some intense thinking about this question. When we think of our freedoms and rights we always choose the obvious ones: freedom of religion. The next being freedom of speech.  And while they are  great attributes to our democracy the three I’m going to convey today are ones that I feel need a little more recognition. 


What if the boogie man was actually real? Now I know you’re laughing at this ridiculous question but I’m being serious. What if the noise you heard was actually someone breaking into your house while you and your babies are sleeping? Having the freedom to protect ourselves both from domestic and foreign threats is one that helps me sleep better at night knowing me and my family are protected. 


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This next one is a little more personal to me. I’ve had this dream of becoming a nurse ever since I was a little girl. Now being a senior in high school looking back I see how time really does fly because I’m about to make it come true. The freedom of being able to choose my future career and to live out nine year old me’s dream is one of America’s attributes that I truly am grateful for.  When being a nine year old carrying a toy first aid kit and giving pretend shots seemed like a fun game. As I’ve grown I’ve developed another dream, to help people. And while I may help and save many lives, our military both active members and veterans, have given me this freedom. Their sacrifice, bravery, and courage have allowed me to choose my own path. 


It’s easy to forget how lucky we truly are to have our freedoms. Until we have a reminder to be grateful. Today I made choices. What I would wear, what I would eat, and to come to school.  If I was a woman in Afghanistan today I wouldn’t be here because my education wouldn’t have continued past sixth grade. I wouldn’t be wearing this. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the gym last night. I hear six flags sounds fun at this time of the year. Yeah that wouldn’t be an option for me. Not even my dream of becoming a nurse would be a possibility. To me that puts things into perspective. 


“I believe in America because we have great dreams and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true” (Wendell Willkie.) I am grateful to have these freedoms in our everyday lives. My past, present, and future depend on these freedoms. And remember these are just three of them. The amount of freedoms we have is truly the greatest attribute of our democracy. These freedoms have price tags on them however. Lives are the exchange. And sacrifice is the tax. I am forever filled with gratitude for the men and women who have provided and provide me these freedoms. I am grateful to live in America. And I am grateful to have these attributes be a part of my life. Thank you. 

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