To the editor:

Is this the reality in America? I hope we thoughtfully consider what this means. It seems the USA is definitely the "land of the brave." We owe our brave heroes (military, police officers, firefighters and all public servants) gratitude for the service they give to keep our country safe so we can enjoy our daily pursuits. We owe educators and scientists for dedicating their lives to imparting new discoveries and knowledge. We owe healthcare providers for the hardships and risks they endure to protect our health, cure us from diseases and ease our passing from this earth. We owe farmers and laborers for tirelessly doing physically hard but needed work, despite personal hardships and low pay. I only mention a few that we owe. Based on our life experiences, we can all name other heroes.

But are we free? Do we all enjoy equal justice under the law? Are the rich and powerful able to buy or coerce freedom? Do we impart more harsh penalties on the poor or minorities? Are all equally free to make health and medical decisions in consultation with medical experts or do government entities restrict healthcare decisions and access? Are all equally free to get the latest and best medical treatments or do the rich have priority access? Do we all get equal, quality educational and job opportunities? Do we all get equal pay for equal work? Do all Americans enjoy equal freedom to marry? Do we all have equal freedom of speech? Can we sit or kneel and remain silent when others pledge allegiance to the "home of the free and the brave?" Do we treat all our neighbors as brothers regardless of race, color, religion, sexual preference, political party? Do we just say the words or do we live the meaning of our symbols, anthems and pledges? Think about it, please.

Ruth Obert

Alexandria, MN