‘What will you do with your freedom?’

Hi’s Eye investigates American principles at the Constitution Center

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‘What will you do with your freedom?’

The inside of the Constitution Center.

The inside of the Constitution Center.

Photo by Mary-Joy Sidhom

The inside of the Constitution Center.

Photo by Mary-Joy Sidhom

Photo by Mary-Joy Sidhom

The inside of the Constitution Center.

Mary-Joy Sidhom, R3 News Editor/Longform Editor

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From the writing of our Constitution, through the Civil War, to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, to the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, citizens have been fighting for our freedom.

We, the Hi’s Eye staff, witnessed this fight for freedom when we arrived at the National Constitution Center for the live performance Freedom Rising. We were engulfed with 360 projections of memorabilia, speeches, pictures, and paintings taking us through all these events and right before the  end of the performance and the room went black, we were asked to reflect upon a very weighted and important question: “What are you going to do with your freedom?”

Many people saw their freedom as an opportunity to live life to the fullest. Jason, a chaperone for a group of students from Ohio, said, “I think the great thing about America is opportunity. It’s your choice to do what you want with your  life. What do you want to do, what do you want to be, where do you want to go? Those are all great freedoms to have.”

However, the general consensus was that with this opportunity comes great responsibility. Phillip and Melanie, other tourists at the National Constitution Center, were exploring the Signers’ Hall, a room filled with bronze statues of the Founding Fathers at the signing of the Constitution, when we asked them the question.

“I think that it’s a reminder that freedom is not just something that we can take for granted,” said Phillip. “We have to be a part of the government, we have to vote, we have to pay attention to what’s going on in the news and be a part of the system.”

Melanie nodded and agreed. “It’s really a reminder to vote and that you have this wonderful gift that people worked so hard for,” Melanie said. “So in order to maintain it, you have to exercise your rights.”

Many people, including Jim, a volunteer at the National Constitution Center, saw that it was their responsibility not only to exercise their rights, but also to pass those ideologies and values down to their children.

“We live as responsible citizens, we pay attention to what is going on, we follow what’s going on [and] we vote,” Jim said. “We exercise our rights to petition for our points of view, we share our points of view with others and hopefully, we teach our children to appreciate freedom because we have more freedom here than in any other country.”