HANNAH EDWARDS Erin Tierney/Community Submission
Editor’s Note: Hannah Edwards, 12th grader at Creswell High School, recently won both the Creswell VFW local Voice of Democracy contest, and took home another at Districts. Edwards will be going to States to compete in January, and winners will be awarded on Jan. 26. Edwards read her speech at the VFW potluck dinner on Friday, Dec. 7 at the Creswell VFW Hall, where local contest winners were recognized, and the Attack on Pearl Harbor was remembered.
For countless generations before us, our brave and loyal ancestors have fought for our freedom. They have shed blood, sweat and tears for the many rights that we far too often take for granted.
From their sacrifice, devotion and the pure love they have for their country, they have protected us, provided for us and fought for everyone’s equal rights.
Most people don’t think about the history behind our rights. Knowing the history, background and the effort behind them, however, is a crucial part of understanding their importance and significance.
November 2016 may not be an important date in history for most; but for me, I caught a glimpse into that rich history and undeniable devotion on a trip to Washington DC.
Standing before war memorials and reading the countless names of all those that stepped up for all of our rights of freedom. Climbing the endless hills at Arlington National Cemetery, among rows of our veterans, as far as the eye can see, leaves a person humbled, speechless and tearful. Entering a darkened room at the National Archives Museum to cast my eyes on the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States, and knowing so much of our freedom comes from the institution of these documents.
The Constitution, signed on September 17, 1787, and ever changing to make our freedoms equal to all.
Amendment 15, 1870, giving males of all race, the right to vote. No longer banishing a fellow American the equal right, due to their race.
Amendment 19, 1920, giving women the right to vote. A right that Susan B. Anthony fought for, who died in 1906, before she ever was allowed this simple freedom.
Amendment 24, 1964, ending the poll tax, allowing all people, regardless of status and income, the right to vote.
Amendment 26, 1971, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, allowing the mere 18 year old children being drafted to fight for our freedom in the Vietnam War, the right to vote in the same country they were laying their lives down for.
I count the days to 2019 when I will turn 18 and be allowed the freedom so many people have fought for, my turn to vote. To enter my vote, free from judgment, war, penalty or discrimination. I will think of a date in 1872 when Susan B. Anthony cast her illegal vote in the presidential election and be grateful for my freedom.