There was a time – not so long ago – when Belgium lived under tyranny. People were persecuted for their race, religion, or political views. Innocent civilians were tortured and murdered. Cruelty was the norm. Hunger and deprivation prevailed.
Twice in the twentieth century, the youth of America and other allied nations came to liberate Belgium from these horrors. For many of these servicemen, Belgium was a faraway land they knew nothing about. Yet they fought and died in a foreign land so that the youth of today could live in freedom.
Their sacrifice was not in vain. Today, the atrocities of those wars are a distant memory, and the youth of Europe and America live in countries that are free and prosperous. This is a blessing that is rare in today’s world.
We must not forget the price that was paid to achieve that freedom that we know today. We must also remember our responsibility to preserve this freedom for the youth of tomorrow. That is why the AOMDA Foundation developed the Price of Freedom Award. It is an interactive way to encourage young people, their educators, and their youth leaders to remember and understand those lessons.
If you live in America, the requirements for earning the Price of Freedom Award are below. To avoid disappointment, remember to please contact us before you get started on meeting the requirements below. We cannot send you the Price of Freedom Award unless you have contacted us before starting the project.
Complete ALL eight of the following requirements:
- Explain to your adult counselor why the United States of America and other allied nations came to the defense of the Kingdom of Belgium and occupied European countries during the two world wars. Why were young people from America and other allied nations willing to fight and die for that cause?
- Use the search function to find a serviceman buried in Belgium who is from your state or with whom you might have a connection. Research, find, and upload one or more missing elements from his profile, like new biographical details that you have found or scans of photographs, documents, newspaper articles, school year books or other items that might tell us more about him. Be sure to include your sources.
- Upload a tribute to the tribute page of the serviceman you chose in meeting requirement #2.
- Write a note to a Belgian student asking the student to visit the grave of the serviceman for you. (The note will be included in the file your counselor sends to AOMDA. AOMDA will deliver that note to a Belgian school, but we cannot control or guarantee whether or not a Belgian student will write back.)
- Visit a museum which has a section devoted to a foreign war and explain to your counselor what you learned.
- Watch one of the following two videos, and discuss with your adult counselor the values that America shares in common with its allies:
- Watch this video about a German WWII Cemetery in Belgium. Discuss with your counselor why and how we should remember the war dead of Germany and her allies during the wars and the importance of reconciliation.
- Explain to your counselor why it is important for America, Belgium, and other allied nations to continue to defend freedom today.
Complete ONE of the following six requirements:
- Find a relative of the serviceman who you researched in requirements #2 and #3 above. Talk to the relative about this website and encourage them to upload whatever information they may have about him.
- Talk with a serving member of the American armed forces or to a war veteran. Ask the person about why they chose to join the military. Where and how did they serve? What is life like in the service in wartime? How did the wartime experience affect their life? Afterwards, compose a letter thanking that serviceman, servicewomen, or veteran for defending your freedom.
- Research a First or Second World War battle in or near Belgium where Americans served. Using maps, explain to your adult counselor what happened during the battle and why the battle was important.
- Research the music that was popular during the First or Second World War. Learn and sing a song from the era. Explain who performed it and why the song was popular.
- Read the poem In Flanders Field by Jean McCrae, and explain what it means to you. Then create an original poem, artwork or piece of music about what perpetuating the memory of those who died for our freedom means to you. Share a copy, photo, or recording of what you have created with the AOMDA Foundation by submitting content on your "My Account" page.
- Research how either of the world wars affected your family. Do you have family members who served in the military during a war? Were any of your family members killed in a war, taken prisoner, or taken away for labor service? Was your family forced to flee their home or was their property destroyed? Does your family have any souvenirs or mementos from the war? Explain what you learned to your counselor.
Remember to please contact us before you get started on meeting the above requirements to avoid disappointment.