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, prosperous, and at peace with their neighbours.. 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 or near Belgium, 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 counselor why the United States of America and other allied nations came to the defense of the Kingdom of Belgium and occupied Europe during the two world wars. Why were young people from America and other allied nations willing to fight and die for that cause?
- Visit the Ardennes American Cemetery, the Flanders Field American Cemetery or the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery. Talk to the cemetery’s Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or Guide and ask them to tell you the stories of two or three of the men who are buried in the cemetery. Who were they? Where did they come from? How and why did they die? Then, use the search function to find one of the serviceman’s tribute page, and upload a tribute to the servicemen on that page. (If your tribute includes new biographical information or data about the serviceman, please be sure to include your sources.)
- Visit three historic markers or monuments that honor Americans who fought in the First or Second World Wars. Describe to your counselor why the monument was erected.
- Visit a museum dedicated to remembering either the First or Second World War. Explain to your counselor what you learned.
- Attend a Memorial Day ceremony in Belgium. Discuss with your counselor what Memorial Day means to you.
- Visit a military cemetery of one of America’s allies during the First or Second World Wars. Discuss with your counselor the values that America shares in common with its Allies.
- Visit a German military cemetery from the First or Second World War. Discuss with your counselor why and how we should remember the war dead of Germany and its 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 seven requirements:
- Talk with a serving member of your country’s armed forces or to a war veteran. Ask the person about why he or she 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.
- Attend a non-AOMDA organized event in Belgium that commemorates an aspect of America’s role in the liberation of Belgium in World War I or World War II. Tell the AOMDA Foundation about this event before you attend, and write a news story about the event afterwards. Submit the news article to the AOMDA Foundation through “my account” on this website.
- Hike or bike an established historic trail in one of the areas where fighting occurred in either World War. Explain to your counselor what you learned from the experience.
- Research a First or Second World War battle in which one of the servicemen buried in Belgium died. Visit the battlefield. Using maps, explain to your 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 My Account.
- 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.