TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
137th Aeromed Evac Squadron
Senior Airman Kyle Henry
146th Air Support Operations Squadron
Senior Airman Matthew Supan
189th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Senior Airman Richard Grant
235th Air Traffic Control Squadron
Senior Airman Jessey Keen
507th Force Support Squadron
Senior Airman Jorge Correa
Senior Airman Russell Nealy
552nd Air Control/Networks Squadron
Senior Airman Jason Gillo
552nd Air Control Wing
Senior Airman Mariah Bradfield
552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Senior Airman Aaron Caraway
Senior Airman Ky Morris
Senior Airman Christopher Walters
Senior Airman Jared Washington
Senior Airman Philip Polo
Senior Airman Isaac Rocha
Senior Airman Cameron Smith
552nd Maintenance Group
Senior Airman Martina Shannon-Young, Freedom Citation Award Winner
552nd Maintenance Squadron
Senior Airman Brittany Forbes, Academic Achievement Award
Senior Airman Aaron Barnes
Senior Airman John Sieh
Senior Airman Quinton Wheat
Senior Airman Jacob Pierson
Senior Airman Cristian Ortiz
Senior Airman Bridgit Zens
552nd Operations Support Squadron
Senior Airman Alli Arcuri, Distinguished Graduate
72nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Senior Airman Smith Wesley
72nd Operations Support Squadron
Senior Airman Ryan Vandenbush
Senior Airman Robert Shifflett, John L. Levitow Award Winner
72nd Security Forces Squadron
Senior Airman Kylee Deyoung
Senior Airman Andrew John Marden
Senior Airman Mitchell Lescallett
Senior Airman Seth Carr
960th Airborne Air Control Squadron
Senior Airman Chelsea Fay, Leadership Award Winner
Senior Airman Nathaniel Nix
963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron
Senior Airman Nicklas Dwyer
964th Airborne Air Control Squadron
Senior Airman, Cooper Dwayne, Distinguished Graduate
Senior Airman Stephen Roquemore
966th Airborne Air Control Squadron
Senior Airman Mitchell Thompson, Distinguished Graduate
Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR
Petty Officer 3rd Class Javon Henton, Sharp Image Award Winner
Strategic Communications Wing One
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandyn Mullins
Freedom Citation Award Winner: What is Freedom?
Being put on the spot to come up with an essay for what I think freedom is, has proven to be very difficult.
Freedom is not something I actively think about every day, I guess I’m lucky enough to not have to.
Right now my freedom isn’t being questioned, I wake up in the morning, feed my dogs and get ready for work. It’s funny how even though I wear this uniform that is supposed to defend and protect our “freedom” coming up with anything worth saying is hard.
As I sit here and think about the word freedom I begin to think about a time when I didn’t feel free or rather I should say, when I felt that my freedom was in jeopardy. The date was Sept. 11, 2001.
It was a day just like any other day. I got up, went to school and around third period, people in my class were getting pulled out for some kind of family emergency.
At the time most of us had no clue what was going on, but that didn’t last long. The panic and fear set in across the teachers’ faces, they had no clue how to explain the devastating events that had just taken place.
I can honestly say that at the time I had no idea just how monumental those events really were. It wasn’t until I got home from school that day when it really started to set in. Programs that my siblings and I usually watched after school were replaced by the news. The images of fire, exploding and the most heart-wrenching for me to see was the fear and devastation on people’s faces. It seemed so surreal, how could something like this happen? In my city of all places!
Fast forward a few months after the attacks. My father took me to Ground Zero, seeing the aftermath really had me question so much in the world, well, as much as my 12-year-old self understood of the world.
Later that night I cried to my mother, I told her “so many people died, so many loved ones were lost”. It was then I promised my mom that I would protect my family from anything like this, as long as I was alive they wouldn’t have to worry. I would make sure they can travel safely. I would make it so that they say and do what they want without any hindrance or restraint. I would make it so that they can continue to love and be happy. I would make it so that nobody would ever have to feel the pain of Sept. 11, 2001.
You see, freedom means different things to different people. To me, freedom is not having to see your city in flames and your country in panic. To me, freedom is being able to protect the ones you love without hesitation.
You know, writing this all out has helped me realize that I live my version of freedom.