Kicking Off Forging Freedom II with a Tribute to Dad

FF2_Final_cover_frontForging Freedom II debuts this week, and we’re excited to share these stories with you. The book is available on Amazon and on our publisher store. I’m grateful to all our our contributors who shared their stories, to Val for all the time spent editing and working with our authors to make their stories shine, and to Meg for her sharp proofreading eye in catching all those things that spellchecker didn’t.

And I’d like to thank my dad, Allen Egger. Although he’s no longer with us, except in spirit, I have him and mom to thank for giving me a childhood where I learned to value freedom. Everything I’ve been able to accomplish today I owe to the beginning that he and mom gave me.

To honor dad’s memory, I’ve set up a scholarship fund to help give others a chance to pursue a future in engineering or computers – dad’s pursuits. If you feel so inclined, you can learn more about helping us get the fund established by visiting the website here.

The foreword to Forging Freedom II is a tribute to dad. I’ll repost it below, but of course it reads much better on a Kindle or paper copy of the book itself 😉

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Freedom Forge – your support continues to mean the world to me!

I write this foreword in tribute to my father, who succumbed to complications from a long-term illness while this book was being edited. When I remember my father, I remember the love of freedom he instilled in me.

Children often realize later in life that they have become more like their parents than they ever expected; the qualities we once thought were “stupid” and “annoying” in our parents are ones that we embrace in adulthood. For all of the hopes and dreams we have, we come to realize that our parents were once our age, too. And they would have had aspirations of their own. At Freedom Forge Press, we share the belief that people should chart their own course in life as well as benefit from the rewards and consequences of success and failure. They should be free to pursue their own happiness without the artificial barriers that are often erected by government bureaucrats seeking to maximize their own power or reward a particularly well-organized or well-funded constituency.

Ever a hard worker, my father took advantage of the free society in which he was raised. He was the first in his family to complete a post-high school education, and he used the opportunity to secure a life-long position with a phone company. His knowledge of mechanics and engineering also led him to become a horologist in his spare time, fixing clocks and watches with the patience that became his trademark.

As a child, I benefitted from my father’s love of freedom. I was one of those kids raised before the age of over-protection and hovering “helicopter parents.” My parents gave me boundaries, of course, but within those boundaries I was given freedom. My non-supervised bike route took up many square miles, and despite a few falls and bad choices, I survived each exploration, learning and growing stronger from my choices. (For instance, I now know it is a bad idea to throw water balloons at the neighbor’s dog!)

When Dad made his watch and clock deliveries, he let me come along, buying me my choice of newspaper or magazine from the local news agency in town. Dad took pride in my choice of The Wall Street Journal. Like Dad, I saw that this country offered great opportunities for entrepreneurs, and even though it took me the whole week to read a single day’s paper, I did so. As I grew and understood the paper more completely, I saw the complications arising from government policies and decisions—and realized the world was not black-and-white. I realized that freedom is challenged daily by policies and motivations unknown to the general population.

Thanks to the foundation my parents provided, I pledged to remain educated and involved, watching out for our freedoms even when it would be more comfortable to remain blissfully ignorant. I joined the Army at seventeen (with my parents’ permission) and founded Freedom Forge Press afterwards as a way to share stories of freedom to keep the flame alive.

Dad always embraced the spirit of individuals making informed choices. Like him, I believe that, given freedom and education, humans can use critical thinking skills to make choices that will better this world. Only too often, those choices are muddied by dishonesty and shrouded by back-room deals. My ongoing hope is for Freedom Forge Press to offer a place for extended dialogue that transcends the superficiality of 140-character tweets and two-second “likes” and “shares” encouraged by social media. Today more than ever, it is important to celebrate freedom and question the methods and motives that people in authority use to ask others to give up their freedoms in exchange for some temporary comfort or security offered by a government program managed by bureaucrats in a distant capital who have little connection to or understanding of the challenges people face every day simply trying to pursue their dreams.

A politician-turned-journalist recently quipped that rights don’t exist in nature, they’re granted by men and by collective agreement. But if this is true, then our “inalienable” rights to life, liberty, and happiness can most assuredly be alienated and taken away by popular vote, unpopular laws, controversial court decisions, and even executive decrees. Those are not rights, but mere privileges. And if we accept that we have only a government-granted privilege to live, be free, and pursue happiness, then we are surrendering the very spirit that makes us human.

In Forging Freedom Volume II, we asked people to share creative stories with a freedom theme. We received true stories and stories based on authors’ ancestors and relatives each struggling for freedom. We received stories in which authors imagined dystopic ends to well-intentioned polices. Stories of individuals struggling to keep their flame of a dream alive despite the dampening effects of powers beyond their control. My father embraced the spirit of such individuals, and as the years pass, I find myself more and more like him—celebrating the spirit of the individual who succeeds in spite of the barriers that society and government erects.

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