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It's more than a word.
I must confess I never gave much serious thought to freedom when I was a child. Celebrating Independence Day in our home meant barbecue, corn-on-the-cob, apple pie, and lots of sunshine.
I don’t recall my parents talking about why we celebrated independence or why we should cherish the freedoms we have in this country. I wonder why.
By the time I reached high school, I began to see that not everyone had the same opportunities. Freedom could not be assumed. I began to ask questions.
What does it mean to be free? Why do some have freedom, and for others, it remains out of reach?
Why do we deny freedom or take it away?
Is freedom guaranteed?
We might have political freedom, but do we have personal freedom? What about the chains that tie some of us to our past or the inner thoughts that imprison and limit our creativity, choices, and happiness?
I’ve come to believe freedom isn't something you claim or receive, and maybe William Faulkner came closer to the truth when he wrote, "We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
Laws may grant certain freedoms. But each of us has the power to set ourselves and others free through mutual respect for our shared humanity. My actions and words make a difference.
If we look at freedom as something we do, the question becomes: How will I treat my neighbor, the clerk in the store, the stranger who doesn’t think, act, or look like me, or those I love?
Freedom is a gift we give each other.
The lonely cry of human trafficking robs freedoms every day at home and abroad.
Protecting human rights isn’t always an issue of someone else’s problem. These human rights stories share the loss of freedom within our communities.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
Find a little wonder this week, and enjoy the freedoms in your life.
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