Student's Essay Touches Hearts Of Veterans

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Payson High School Junior Megan Ochoa's essay placed third in the district in the VFW's annual "Voice of Democracy" scholarship competition, which encompasses eight Posts throughout northern Arizona.

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Payson High School Junior Megan Ochoa stands with members of the Mogollon Rim VFW Post 9829 as she reads an essay she wrote called, "Freedom's Challenge," during a school assembly Thursday morning. Left to right, Jim Muhr, Forest Parker, Bob Walker and Dave Main.

"I think Megan is an exciting, dynamic young lady who is destined to be an outstanding role model and citizen of our great country," said Post Commander Jim Muhr. "When these young people do research for this contest, they gain a better appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy and the sacrifices veterans give for their country."

Ochoa received a $300 scholarship from the VFW for her winning essay.

For more information about the Mogollon Rim VFW, or the annual essay competitions sponsored by the organization, call Muhr at (928) 474-4530.

Freedom's Challenge

by Megan Ochoa

For over two centuries Americans have proudly and boldly celebrated their Freedom and liberties.

Whether Americans speak out for their beliefs, draft a petition, or simply cast a vote, they exercise their unalienable rights and the Freedoms they are entitled to.

While some citizens choose to take advantage of these Freedoms to the fullest extent, the presence of conflicting ideals continue to challenge Freedom and Democracy.

Even in the face of intense animosity, the United States has proven itself as a defender of Freedom, and will continue to stand the test of time.

Freedom in the United States has been challenged throughout history by various organizations thriving for change. The Ku Klux Klan, for example, has been notoriously known for their hatred of minorities.

They have openly and oftentimes violently expressed their opposition for the equal-treatment and rights of African-Americans. Despite the wishes of the Ku Klux Klan and other Southern states, the United States granted suffrage to those deserving African-Americans in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868.

Innumerable amounts of wars have been fought in the name of Freedom.

The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, today's War in Iraq, and even the arms and technology race of the Cold War can be directly linked to the pursuit, the preservation, and the protection of Freedom.

The United States possesses such an acclaimed system of government because it balances order and Freedom.

One right Americans share is the Freedom of Press. However, this Freedom is limited in that soliciting slander in the press is illegal.

In the same sense, a citizen is entitled to express his or her opinions freely, but the moment that the expression of those opinions begin to infringe on another individual's rights, the right to Freedom of expression is revoked.

Many wonder if the restrictions are ethical, but, in the scheme of things, Freedom without order would only produce chaos.

In order for Democracy to function and serve as it is designed to, homage is a necessary payment to show respect for those who have risked or even lost their lives for Freedom.

History has proven that people will do almost anything for their rights and we can only wish that Freedom rings and Democracy prevails.

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