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To many people, the teenage years involve many emotional, difficult times. As children get older, parents tend to give them more freedoms to balance the responsibilities that also come with age. Although the expectations of America’s youth can be difficult to uphold due to the available distractions, the rewards of self-fulfillment and hopes of a personally chosen future should make the lifestyle of an American appealing.
Looking back to America’s beginning, we see that all men had to fight for the freedom to be called a new nation. The Revolutionary War required men to fight against their ruler, knowing that a loss would most likely end in death for such catastrophic disobedience. Following the war, the colonists began a lifestyle that outlines some key rights for citizens today. The colonists desired the right to speak freely without the threat of death. Without the king as their ruler, this dream became reality. Another large appeal to independence from England was the freedom of religion. In America today, we have several religions with many different churches branching from the several main religions. Without the confidence and bravery of the veterans of the Revolutionary War, this freedom to choose a religion without fear of persecutions would not exist.
When looking at the other top countries in the world today, we see that the freedoms that America is based upon do not exist in their lifestyles. In America, children are exposed to different possibilities for a career in their future. Even if parents or adults try to influence the child to choose a profession, the ultimate decision is still left to the child. In other countries, a child must do as the adults wish; this means that their career as an adult can be chosen for them at a very young age. In America, all people, no matter race or wealth status, are able, and encouraged, to attend college. Each person has a choice of schools to apply to and the right to receive education in the occupational field of his or her choice. Many businesses and corporations, both at a local and national level, grant scholarships to those deserving and in need for the purpose of higher education. With such great opportunities to receive financial aid from others, all Americans have the opportunity to attend college with little or no debt. While in college, a student can change his or her major, showing that America gives all people equal opportunities and the freedom of choice, thanks to the veterans who fought for our independence and to keep our independence throughout America’s history.
During the adolescent years, children look to a strong adult figure for guidance in their life. As a child’s knowledge of American history grows, he or she often recognizes the strength of veterans and acknowledges their bravery. Especially in World War I, which used trench warfare, most soldiers had little hope to live through the war due to the dangerous style of fighting. After studying about World War I, many young people are fascinated by the courage and force of those soldiers. In all wars throughout America’s history, soldiers have had to be committed to their country in order to endure the physical and mental hardships faced in a war setting. For today’s youth, the war in Iraq stands as a constant reminder that veterans are strong men and women who experienced horrific situations and should now be honored and respected.
While I do not believe that the strength and honor of veterans is emphasized enough for today’s youth as a whole, I believe that most children and teenagers do look up to veterans. This is obvious when many children stare in awe of the men and women in military uniform. Without the service of veterans during wars, the “American way” would not be, as we know it today. Simple rights, such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the freedom to choose your own future, would not be realistic. Veterans give children and teenagers, as well as adults, a strong future to look to for an example of true patriotism. Although many people do not vocalize, I believe that all people thank the veterans within their hearts and minds.