Americans spoke about what freedom means to them during the kickoff of the annual FreedomFest conference this week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
FreedomFest, a libertarian-focused festival that touts itself as the “largest liberty event in the world,” welcomed thousands from across the political spectrum to discuss a wide range of issues facing the country today.
Among the high-profile speakers this year include Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes, economist and actor Ben Stein, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and entertainment icon John Cleese. The event was emceed by FOX Business host Kennedy.
On the first day of FreedomFest, Fox News Digital asked attendees, “What does freedom mean to you?”
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“Freedom means the liberty to be able to be whatever you want to be, not being forced to be boxed into any particular party, but really being true to what your core values are,” Christy Kelly, 40, said. “So really just divorcing the Democrat, Republican labels and just loving freedom and identifying with other liberty-minded individuals.”
FreedomFest, hosted this year in Las Vegas, Nevada, is known as the "largest liberty event in the world."
Another attendee from Thousand Oaks, Calif., expressed that freedom includes government staying out of Americans’ daily lives.
“Freedom means that I’m able to raise my children the way that I see fit as a parent, the way I want to run my business that’s the most successful for myself, my family, my employees,” Tim McCarthy, 56, told Fox News Digital.
One 25-year-old spoke on the ability to “live life on your own terms.”
“I get to do whatever makes me happy and fulfilled and feel self-actualized, regardless of what anybody else thinks I should do, whatever anybody else tells me I should do,” Hannah Frankman said.
A school-choice advocate mentioned that Americans have the opportunity to harness educational freedom.
“Freedom to me means giving access to every student and every family in America to the choices that they prefer for their school,” Valeria Gurr told Fox News Digital. “I truly believe that families should have access to a quality education and to have the freedom to choose.”
Open communication and dialogue is crucial to the definition of freedom, according to 38-year-old Richard Ellefritz.
“In order to have access to ideas, you have to be able to freely communicate, associate and talk with other people,” Ellefritz said. “So first and foremost, freedom means, to me, the ability to speak and associate with other people.”
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Another FreedomFest attendee noted the importance of reflecting beyond personal freedoms, as well.
“I want this world to recognize that everyone has to go to the core of their being and reflect that they aren’t the central person, they aren’t the central being,” Darlene Granger, 65, said. “There is something beyond ourselves. Maybe some people call it God, which I would, so I say that we have to have the freedom to recognize that there is something better than ourselves, and we have to reflect on that. And no one should be able to destroy that because it gives us hope, it gives us joy, and it gives us possibly eternal life.”
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Kristen Altus is a production assistant with Fox News.