home People The Coronado View on… Freedom

The Coronado View on… Freedom

Sometimes freedom is simply the feeling of riding downhill on a bicycle with the wind in your hair, or a Friday afternoon as the weekend kicks in or running unencumbered and barefoot down a sandy shore. But it’s also the foundation of our country — the idea that we are protected when it comes to believing and saying what we want, and able to build the lives we imagine for ourselves. Such a fundamental part of the American life can represent many things to many people, so we asked Coronadans to share their thoughts on what it means to be free. .

Stefan Talian


“A few years ago, I packed the few belongings I owned into two suitcases and fled Slovakia, where I was born and raised, to come to America and start my life over again. When I arrived, I learned that the airline had lost my luggage, so I set foot in the country with literally nothing. But the feeling I had when I first saw the American flag is indescribable. For the first time in my life I felt free. No one knew me; I had a completely clean slate. I’ve had such an incredible journey since I’ve been here. I’ve worked as a cook, a fitness model, a yoga instructor, and now as an artist — and it’s amazing to be able to shape my life in whatever way I want. And, just last month, I passed my citizenship test! I am elated to be a free citizen of this country.”
~ Stefan Talian




Anne Marie Mulhern

“Freedom is the ability to stand up for what I believe in, to speak out against that which I oppose, and to accept those around me no matter the differences between us. Freedom is what allows family, friends and communities to bond in all sorts of situations and under many different circumstances. Freedom gives people the choice to line city streets in the middle of the day to honor and celebrate the life of a person who died defending our freedom, such as the community of Coronado did for my cousin, Charlie Keating, on May 13, 2016. Freedom is more than a word; it’s a feeling. And it’s an experience, given to us by men and women many years ago, and maintained for us by the men and women today who defend us and even sacrifice their lives so that people like me can continue knowing what freedom truly means. Charlie protected my freedom, and I find comfort in knowing that he is also finally free.”
~ Anne Marie Mulhern


Craig Clapperton
Capt. Craig Clapperton, Commanding Officer, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), which has its home port in Coronado.

“America is the greatest country in the world. I say that unabashedly. No, we are not perfect, but we are always striving to make ourselves and our nation better. We are the single greatest hope for the world. We are the oldest, longest standing and greatest democracy that world has ever known. An extraordinary sociological experiment and proof that government of the people, for the people and by the people is the only true way. More than 250 years ago, we stood alone in that belief. Today nearly every great nation has followed that path. But what makes our nation great is not only the values and ideals of freedom and democracy that we strive to achieve as Americans and our fights against oppression and extremism around the world, but a key component of that greatness is our ability to remember and honor the countless men and women who have died while selflessly serving and volunteering in our armed services to uphold those values and ideals at home and around the world.”

~ Excerpt from Capt. Clapperton’s Memorial Day keynote address at Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial


Ashley Settle photo
clockwise from left: Jersey Cunningham, Ashley Settle, Jensen Cunningham, Parker West, Mason West

“Freedom is being able to play with my nieces and nephews knowing that we are safe because of the men and women in the armed forces. It’s being able to sleep in my own bed at night and feel protected by people who can’t do the same because they are defending our country. We are the land of the free, only because of the brave.”
~ Ashley Settle


Claudia“Freedom is being able to pursue your passions and find joy in trying new things. I’d always wanted to learn how to paint in oils, so two years ago, I decided I didn’t want to wait to retire to explore a new hobby, and I began taking lessons. It’s been an incredible experience in growth, and one that I draw often from for my work in our district as the director of learning. It’s wonderful to live in a country where we have the liberty to keep learning throughout our lives!”
~ Claudia Gallant




Amy Elhoff
Amy Elhoff Harms, Ben Harms and baby Tallulah

“Both my definition of freedom, and my appreciation for it, have drastically been altered since having my first baby seven months ago. To have both my hands available to load the laundry machine is now a luxury. Set me free alone in a grocery store, and I may as well be walking the streets of Paris at midnight. Dare I dillydally in the UPS line considering what tchotchke might need to make its way home with me? Perhaps, if I’m feeling a bit wild. Who knew the once simple and all too mundane task of running errands without being hindered by a baby would become my adult version of spring break.”
~ Amy Elhoff


Lindsay Maphet


“Most of my immediate family has served in the military, so I know firsthand the sacrifices that come with service. We want to raise our daughter Reagan to appreciate the freedoms she has because of the price paid by those who came before her, so we sometimes take her to see my grandfather’s plaque at the Mount Soledad Veteran’s Memorial Wall. I am grateful we are able to raise our daughter in a community that understands that our freedom isn’t free. Because of those sacrifices, she will get to go to church on Sunday morning, decide where to go to school, and pursue a dream career. Freedom is her ability to live life to its fullest!”

~ Lindsay Maphet






CLM Starfish