Citizenship in a free nation requires something of everyone. Most of all it takes courage, conviction and commitment to action, said Brent Ward, U.S. attorney for Utah.
Ward spoke during a dinner for the Sons of Freedom, an alumni organization for the Freedom Academy, at the Excelsior Hotel. He said, "The less sacrifice for freedom we make, the greater the likelihood a later generation will go to war for that."Ward himself is a graduate of the Freedom Academy, an Americanism and anti-communism seminar for high school student body leaders sponsored by the Utah National Guard.
"Twenty-five years ago I attended the Freedom Academy at Camp Williams and had several lessons instilled there," he said. "Never underestimate America's foes, and never take freedom for granted."
In a sense this is the first generation to govern the nation without living through a world war, he said. "Some have paid the price in Vietnam and Korea, but as a generation we have not paid the full price as those before us.
"The question is can we hold the torch of freedom high? What are we willing to do to prevent war?" Ward asked. "It can't be done by spectators. If we only enjoy freedom, it will slip through our hands."
Keith Haines, president of the alumni organization, said the group's purpose is to share past experiences and establish some traditions. Those traditions include giving two awards to those who exemplify the purpose of the Freedom Academy - to share the will to vote with others and to have a vision to dream and the courage to make dreams become reality.
The Robert Sawaya National Award was given to Virgil Kovalenko, a representative of the Veterans Assisting Saints Abroad Association. Ward was honored with the Chris Munson State Award.
Both Sawaya and Munson died in Vietnam. They were Freedom Academy members of the class of 1962.