When our founding fathers first considered fighting for freedom, it was not an easy decision to make. Many lost their lives before America could call itself a nation. In the past 235 years, America has fought countless other wars and sacrificed millions and millions of brave soldiers’ lives. None of those involved made the easy decision. They left their families at home and took on the nation’s struggles as their own, fighting for a dream they hoped would become reality.Sacrifices need to be made by all people of all classes. During World War II, soldiers were not the only ones making life-changing sacrifices. At home, metal toys, vehicles and utensils were melted down to create ammunition. Scrap metal drives gathered materials that were still in use to contribute to the war efforts. When transportation cutbacks made fresh fruits and vegetables harder to find, millions planted ‘˜Victory Gardens’ in their yards. Soldiers in so many wars have fought for the freedom of those oppressed at home and abroad to keep the fighting out of America’s homeland. That is also the goal with current military action overseas. One glaring difference is that fewer people back home are willing to sacrifice their everday comforts to support those soldiers fighting the war against terror.Today our political and community leaders need to have that same spirit of freedom. Counties, states and the federal government should strive to become debt-free. It’s not going to be easy and many elected leaders will likely be voted out of office, but changes need to be made now. We need to fight over-spending and government waste at all levels. Financial sacrifices need to be made by families today. If you are in debt to any bank, collection agency or other entity, you are not truly free. We will never be free from the monthly bills or unexpected expenses, but there’s no reason to spend an entire paycheck on a new outfit to keep up appearances. Freedom is not free and it is an everyday struggle to maintain that independence that so many generations of Americans have taken part in. If we are to stop the escalating debt and begin to lower the debt ceiling, everyone is going to have to join the fight. Fewer and fewer gardens are being planted. Some generations have never even experienced growing and harvesting their own foods. We need ‘˜Freedom Gardens’ to free Americans from their sedentary lifestyles, their dependence on other people, even other nations, for the foods and products they use every day. So when your family is celebrating America’s independence, consider what you can do to help our great nation fight our way back to success. Make financially responsible decisions – that means my husband won’t be making the trip over the state line to buy the expensive fireworks that he wanted.Remember with respect those who have lost their lives to free our nation and protect its citizens from harm. Honor our current military members who have made so many personal sacrifices to protect our great nation. Tell them thank you when you see them in uniform or send care packages overseas. We are free today, but we must fight for tomorrow.Rachel McDaniel is a reporter and photographer for the Pike County Journal Reporter.