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Citizens Must Take 'Ownership' to Preserve Freedoms, University President Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2007 – Citizens who serve in the military, or seek out other selfless civic responsibilities, help to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans, a university president and retired two-star Army general said here yesterday.

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Educator and retired Army Maj. Gen. Wallace C. Arnold (right) and Navy Vice Adm. Melvin Williams, deputy commander of Fleet Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va., listen at DoD’s African American History Month observance luncheon held at Hampton University, Va., Feb. 22, 2007. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Wallace C. Arnold, president of Cheyney University in West Chester, Pa., spoke at a DoD-sponsored African American History Month observance luncheon at Hampton University. Arnold retired as a major general in 1995 after serving as the Army’s assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel.

During his keynote remarks, Arnold told educators and students that freedom isn’t free and that Americans of all ethnic persuasions must take personal ownership and responsibility for the nation’s future.

“We have to convince men and women in our country that ownership is a part of this,” Arnold said. “Ownership causes you to serve; ownership causes you to sacrifice; and ownership causes you to go further than you think you can go.”

Citizens who selflessly serve their communities help to sustain “a governmental system that is for and by the people,” Arnold said.

Many areas of the world do not enjoy the personal freedoms Americans take for granted on a daily basis, he said, noting Americans could one day lose their freedoms through inattention or apathy. Citizens who serve in the military and take active roles in their communities help to safeguard the nation’s freedoms and way of life for future generations, he said.

“Ownership, first, is the preservation of this great land we have,” Arnold said.

“If we don’t feel like we ‘own’ everything, we’ll lose it,” Arnold emphasized. “And what we will lose will be our freedom.”

Yet, through “service to country” and “service to each other,” Arnold said Americans can ensure that they won’t lose their hard-won freedoms.

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