Freedom is not Free: acitymom the chaperone returns from Washington DC

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You probably thought acitymom didn't survive her chaperoning experience,
or that perhaps she and the other chaperones (who were all very cool,
btw; not a hoverer in the bunch) had been tied up and locked on a bus
while one-hundred eighth graders proceeded to wreak havoc on our
nation's Capitol, you know, kind of like Congress does.

Well, have no fear;  acitymom is back. Exhausted, but back. What a fantastic trip! If anyone asked me now if I would do it again, I would say yes, not in a heartbeat, but after a few long hours of reflective contemplation. Quiet, reflective contemplation. Speaking of which, I did learn quite a bit on our trip. I learned that I do not do so well anymore after four consecutive nights with less than five hours of sleep, that most long-haul bus drivers are really, really cranky and that Freedom is not Free.

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I should pause here and apologize to CNN. [BIte Me CNN]  I ranted against their advertising/ propaganda (and I learned about propaganda at the Holocaust Museum!) filled article, and while I stand by most of what I said, I have to agree that every kid in the United States needs to see Washington DC, although not necessarily before they're fifteen.

With few exceptions, every war we've ever fought has been about freedom. Freedom from England or slavery or the Third Reich or communism or high oil prices (a little citymom sarcasm on that last one). And in terms of human life, the cost of those wars has been high. It's hard not to be moved by this when you're in Washington, because there are monuments and memorials and cemeteries dedicated to our military and its troops' ultimate sacrifice wherever you turn. Every time one of us complains about a President or gathers in a group or votes in an election in which you do have an actual choice, no matter how lame we may think that choice is, we should remember these rights came at a price. A high price, and they should never be taken for granted. And that's something you won't learn at Disney World.

We were walking through the Smithsonian, checking out all the of the First Ladies' inaugural ball gowns and we decided we didn't like the belt on Hillary Clinton's. "I won't have a belt on my dress when I'm First Lady," I said. "Don't you mean when you're President?" one of my girls replied.

That's what I'm talking about. (Cue patriotic music here.)

I hope our current wars and conflicts will end soon and that these eighth graders will live in a future where our ultimate goals of Freedom and Peace for everyone will prevail.

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In the mean time, acitymom is off to exercise her right to Freedom of Sleep.


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