National Freedom Day remembers the day Abraham Lincoln signed a resolution for the United States Constitution’s 13th Amendment in order to abolish slavery, Feb. 1, 1865. This amendment was quickly ratified on Dec. 18, 1865. The first commemoration of National Freedom Day took place on Feb. 1, 1942, although it was not made into law yet. A tradition of laying a wreath at the Liberty Bell also began.
Then on June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman signed a bill to proclaim Feb. 1 as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States.
This new bit of information now provides for me a subject that greatly interests me—and should interest all Americans—freedom and personal liberty, two precious commodities that are under attack by today’s progressive government.
I begin by quoting a definition of freedom uttered in 1938 by Albert E. Bowen. He declared: “Freedom signifies more than a release from outward restraint. It is an essence, a quality of the spirit whose rarest blossoms, in an atmosphere of oppression, wither and die. Freedom is not bestowed, it is achieved.
It is not a gift, but a conquest. It does not abide, it must be preserved.”
Bowen’s words are words of wisdom and should be taught to children by loving parents and to all students through university.
It should be mandatory for obtaining citizenship in this nation.
They are not, unfortunately, and likely will not be in the near future.
Bowen’s words to me are profound. His words bring into focus every element of life, from the day my spirit gained a body, via mortal parents, birth, to my days of preparing for that day when my spirit will separate from my mortal body and return unto he who gave it to me.
His words remind me of those days when I had to struggle to learn what mortality was all about, a class room for eternal life.
His words remind me of those days I served in this nation’s military, during the Korean War, defending those freedoms and liberties all Americans cherish. Truly “freedom does not abide, it must be preserved.” And sometimes die for.
That “an essence, a quality of spirit whose rarest blossoms” that Bowen speaks of is that inner spirit within that brings peace to the inner soul when one is in harmony with his teachings and commandments.
I feel that essence each day I wake up and realize that the good Lord has given me another day to prepare to pass my mortal exams, exams that are creeping up on me more quickly than I would like.
But this ‘essence of spirit’ is also those moments when a grandchild asks me to perform his/her eternal marriage in the House of the Lord; that look from my eternal companion that tells me she still loves me (after all these many years); that our lives have been good; that our children are good, as are our many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and more importantly that we are part of God’s eternal family and have attempted to prepared ourselves to the best of our knowledge to be worthy of returning to him, the father of our eternal spirit — and still have the freedom to share these beliefs with our family and longtime friends via the Cherokee Tribune — those precious freedoms of religion, speech and press.
Personal “freedom is not bestowed, it must be achieved” is a truism that every human being must learn for themselves.
The knowledge of this truism comes to all at sometime in their life.
The lucky ones are those who learn that living the his commandments is the gateway to personal freedom and to learn this at a young age from loving parents within the walls of the family, a family defined as one man and one woman united in marriage who find joy by serving one another and serving those blessed children who are on loan from God; and to train them up in the way they should go learning how to govern themselves in the community in which they will live.
I close by quoting John 8:32: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Happy National Freedom Day.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.