February 1st marked an important holiday in the United States, the International Day of Freedom. Don't feel badly if you missed it--I did, too--we can still celebrate the message today and every day that we're alive!
This holiday offers a chance to reflect on the freedom that every American enjoys as a result of the signing of the resolution which proposed the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution on February 1, 1865. The president at the time, Abraham Lincoln, signed the resolution to outlaw slavery in the country.
Turn on the news any evening this week and you're sure to see a myriad of things that are dividing our country: politics, religion, racial tension and more. It's too bad that more of the media's time isn't spent on the things which unify us as Americans.
The small-town heroes who return from war, the helping hands that appear out of nowhere after a house fire destroys a home, the kind stranger who pays for the meal of the family behind her in line, the way that a community comes together to offer support (financial and emotional) to a young man struggling with cancer.
These are the stories that are often eschewed in the face of "real news." Real news being stories of tragedy, of hatred, of anger and polarization, apparently.
I wanted to take this chance to encourage each of us--Americans or not--to celebrate the freedoms that most of us enjoy each and every day.
As I'm researching my next book, a mystery set in the later part of the 19th Century, I'm reminded again and again how few choices women had. There are many things that I enjoy without thought--driving my car whenever and wherever I like for example--that would have been unheard of then. Even something like reading would have been treated much differently in those days. And what a person read--particularly a female person--might be much different than what someone enjoys reading today.
Freedom is my deepest value. It's one of the reasons that I give to charities like the International Justice Mission. I cannot imagine the horror of being anyone's slave.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
Well said, President Lincoln.
So, tell me: what freedoms are you grateful for today?
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