Free To Do
Off the Wall - July 3, 2009

How often do we turn on the television to watch the news only to learn what is happening in other parts of the world? Most likely the media will highlight events that will keep your attention. Rarely do I see anything that is happening in Africa, Iran or Somalia that is uplifting.

A good many people who are viewing their high definition televisions on large format mechanisms are sitting in the comforts of their living or recreation rooms thinking little of the freedoms they are enjoying. Some may be sipping on an alcoholic cocktail, smoothie, or stuffing chips into their mouths. Lovebirds may be cuddled on a sofa viewing the tube from across a dimly-lit room; the whole family may be scraping food off their paper plates lounging in front of the television set ingesting massive amounts of food. These are all acts of freedom that most of us do without giving it so much as a thought while others may not have any of these privileges.

I sometimes wonder if we truly understand how we are blessed living where we do.

Now, I have lived here in Latrobe over 35 years. One man told me he has lived here 77 years, and others their whole lives. Some have moved here and like it because of the good schools, park accessibility and recreation. A fellow from Swissvale told me recently that he would like to move to Latrobe to frequent the convent of Holy Family Church.

These, too, are acts of freedom. No one took them by the arms and dragged them here and told them they must submit to uncouth traditions of rulers who dictate every action or movement.

No, we are one city of many throughout this wonderful United States of America where freedoms are played out on a day to day basis. Just looking out my bedroom window, for example, I see one woman pushing a baby carriage with five children surrounding her. Looking out another window, I observe two teens walking down toward Legion Keener Park with black bags hung off their shoulders. And still off to the right, heading in my direction is a young man walking his little pudgy dog, stopping at grassy areas and telephone poles. These sightings aren’t unusual in the land of the free. A matter of fact, in most cases, residents of Latrobe and nearby communities exiting their homes think little of stepping outside their front doors and strolling down the street.

In a matter of days, the whole country will be taking part in the annual celebration of July 4th. People will be traveling to be together with their families. Parades will be held.
Booths and amusement rides will be set up in Legion Keener Park for the enjoyment of area residents. And organizations, such as the Holy Name Society of Holy Family Church, 1200, Ligonier St., Latrobe, will hold its Annual Pancake Breakfast from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. in the parish’s social hall. In addition, hot dogs and sauerkraut, along with bottled water may be purchased.

Many thoughts come to me when I think of the subject of hand. What does freedom mean to me? What comes to mind are: fishing where I have permission, worship, pray, and vote. I can be myself, share Christ’s love with others. Finally, I can read what I want, dress as I so choose, and aid those who may need a helping hand including the homeless.

But the bottom line is this. There are so many things we do in our country that aren’t permitted in other parts of the globe. Be appreciative that not only God created us in this country, made us who we are, but for all He has given us as well. It’s easy sometimes to take our lifestyles for granted. I include myself among the guilty. May we never forget who fought and continues to fight for our freedoms, for without them, we wouldn’t have this holiday.

Article by:
Paul J. Volkmann
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