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The Sentinel Focus:

A view through the lens of truth, beauty, and goodness.




The Long Voyage at Sea

December 03, 2021
By Abe Rutherford

Where do we go from here? First, we have to sail back along the sea of ups and downs and learn from our compass, our past. Our history gives us the direction we need to set sail to find prosperity. We learn from our voyage the storms we have overcome, and the giant swells we fear that rock the boat of our future. When the crew works together, the ship sails through the water like a needle through clothing. “Family is like a life jacket in the stormy sea of life,” said J.K Rowling, and if we are not unified through the voyage, then the ship will fail.

For example, the challenging current the Great depression wrought on our country, the vast sea the World Wars caused, the choppy waters of the attacks of September 11, the terrible treachery of terrorists, and the aggressive assassinations of our great presidents have brought our country together. If our country was not unified, then we would have fallen apart. If our country was not unified our homeland would be in complete chaos. If our country was not unified, then we would not be successful. Abraham Lincoln wisely said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Throughout history, our love for freedom and the pursuit of happiness have been tested. For example, in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Germany, and in Iraq. The enemies of liberty are at constant war, trying to destroy the ship that we hold so closely together. However, our veterans, our patriots, our people who hold this country together, ventured through dense jungles waiting for the enemy ambush, walk miles and miles without any rest, colored the sea red with their blood when they charged those beaches on D-day― shed for the freedoms of people who they will never meet.

These catastrophic currents and swells have pushed us to become patriots. Patriots who are proud to live and to fight for this great country. America has endured much over in its time, including a bloody, vicious civil war, and yet it has always come together, and it always will, granted we never lose sight of the principles that first forged our nation— and entrust our great unity. It all started way back in 1492 when Christopher Columbus set sail to find a quicker route to the far east. Instead, he founded one of the brightest countries that will ever live. Since then, we have become a world power. A global influence in economic, political, and technological affairs all over the globe. And yet, we still have lots to explore and discover.

We have so many freedoms available to us because of our veterans. I can pray and read my Bible without fearing my life. I can go to church on Sunday without fearing my life. I can voice my opinion without fearing my life. Thanks to our veterans, we are a free and united people.

Sadly though, we overlook those simple freedoms every day. Many people around the globe do not experience the freedom to believe in whatever they want. They grow up in a culture where they are forced to believe something and are not able to find what they truly believe in. They can not believe anything else without living in fear. Their countries do not allow them to voice their opinion. They can not speak on economic and political issues and not be cut down by their government.

Alexander Hamilton said, "the nation’s future would depend on its citizens’ love of country, lack of foreign bias, the energy of a common national sentiment, [and] a uniformity of principles and habits.” What used to be seen as a melting pot, producing distinctive Americans from a group of mixed nationalities, has cooled to a bowl whose contents retain their standard shapes and flavors. We are not producing the same type of people that take pride in their country anymore. They do not appreciate the time, effort, and lives taken to create the country they happily and freely live in.

Without our veterans, our nation can not stand. Without our veterans, our nation can not show future generations the pride and honor it takes to lead our country. Without our veterans, we would not be asking the question “where do we go from here?” They not only fight for our country, but they lead our country to the future. They are the buoy that guides us to shore. They ignite the fire of patriotism in my generation―the heads of tomorrow―to pursue the freedoms in America to further our country’s greatness.

Awarded 1st Place in the Voice of Democracy Writing Contest