Stand up for what is right

By Lydia Pankratz
Times-News correspondent

Lydia Pankratz / Times-News correspondent

I recently turned 18, and will get to vote for the first time this fall; and I know there are so many others at this point in their lives, too. This is a time when we are taking on the many   responsibilities of adulthood. One of those responsibilities is safeguarding the freedoms we have been given as Americans so that we can hand them down to future generations.
While our nation does have some serious issues to work through right now, it does not change the fact that we still live in one of the greatest nations on Earth. It will not help for us to   bury our heads in the sand and hope that all the trouble will go away and we can just look up when it blows over and things are easier. We will have to take the responsibility to vote, to   defend our country and to speak up against wrongdoing and tyranny. If we have taken no action, we will have no reason to complain. It has been said that the price of liberty is eternal   vigilance, and it is true.
How are we to go about this? One of the simplest ways for us to work to protect our freedom is voting. Vote whenever you have the opportunity for people whom you know will be fighting for your freedom in their positions of leadership. If you do, that’s one huge step towards fulfilling your responsibility.
All of us have different spheres of influence. Your influence might be greatest at work, in your sports team, at your school, or even in your own family. Use your influence among your peers, fellow employees, schoolmates, family members and friends to encourage people to stand for their freedom. Try to take a genuine interest in politics and encourage others to do so as well. Even though these issues can be extremely frustrating to a person at times, they do concern our personal freedoms in a real way.
We should also seek to understand the times, to understand the Constitution, to understand what we believe, mostly though, to understand where we come from.
Winston Churchill said, “A nation that forgets its past has no future.”
If we know our history, we will appreciate our freedom all the more. Seeing the sacrifice that has gone into obtaining and maintaining American liberty will inspire us to protect it diligently.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
Be respectful, but speak up; don’t allow your beliefs to be trampled on and your rights to be taken without a murmur. As young Americans, we have the responsibility to stand up for what is right and true as we help shape the future of our nation.

Lydia Pankratz is a recent high school home-schooled graduate and will be attending Alamance Community College in the fall. She also is a Teens & 20s writer.

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