Don does it again. This time reminding us of a little history, which I fear may not being fully taught these days, and perhaps forgotten by some. Reminding us the “Freedom isn’t Free”, but well worth the cost.
Freedom Is Worth The Cost
I grew up in a home where love for God and country was woven through the pages of our history. If memory serves me correctly, I think as children, we began our school day as students standing as we put our hands over our hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The leadership to do so was provided over the intercom from the principal’s office. I may be mistaken, but I also think a brief prayer was included.
I wondered this morning if schools still begin the day with students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? I didn’t wonder about prayer since the Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer in schools in a 1962 decision, saying it violated the First Amendment. Strange that a country that inscribes “In God We Trust” on our coinage, opts to do away with school sponsored prayer.
In fact, in 1956, the United States Congress officially adopted “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. From 1776 until then, “E pluribus unum” had been the official motto and included in the 1776 design of the Great Seal of the United States. The verbiage is Latin meaning, “One from many”.
Sometimes there is a vast difference between theory and practice. In terms of a national motto, “E pluribus unum” and “In God We Trust” both seem like a stark contrast from reality. Seriously, if we really trusted in God, wouldn’t we be one of many?
The Nation’s Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892. Socialist minister, Francis Bellamy, the author, had intended the pledge be adaptable for any country. In 1923, the words “the flag of the United States of America” were added. Th pledge then was “I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…
The next addition took place in 1954 under President Eisenhower’s encouragement to Congress to add the phrase, “Under God”. The inclusion was intended as a response to the Communist threat of the times.
Freedom – Does it really exist in our country? How many people do you know that grew up with the belief that they were not free because of family pressure, parental expectations, lack of opportunity or other responsibilities that precluded making changes?
Sometimes embracing freedom puts one at risk with the status quo, but without the risk is one assigning themselves to a life of misery? Do you remember the line from “Me and Bobby McGee? “ Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose – Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free, no no…”
A couple of years ago, I became friends with a young man who quit his job because he found it too confining. He discovered he was not suited for an 8:00-to-5:00 office job, where he had to spend the totality of his day inside. Seriously, quitting his first professional job following grad school had to take an inordinate amount of courage on his part. He didn’t mention student loans or the cost associated to getting his MBA, but those things paled in contrast to the thought of spending the next forever in a small office with three other men who may have been equally dissatisfied with the prison-like-sentence associated to their work. He said simply of himself: “I can’t do it”. He had to be free.
I was subsequently sharing his story with another friend who retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Consequently, he had paid the price of admission and knew what he wanted. Earning his MBA on the heels of a prestigious military career, he had set his sights on something completely different.
In discussing his post career plans for the next chapter of his life with his college professor in the Business School at the University he attended, he talked about doing something completely different going forward. The college professor seemed a little taken back. Wasn’t coloring outside the lines a little risky? My friend was resolute in his determination to be free from the shackles of preconceived expectation by giving himself permission to follow his dreams and forge his own way ahead with a sense of freedom.
Apparently, my friend’s courage and boldness made an impact on his college professor. At graduation, the professor announced to the graduation class that a conversation with one of his students had impacted his life. As a result, he was resigning his position at the University and moving to the Netherlands, his country of origin, in order to follow his dreams and do life differently.
As food for thought, have you considered the level of inordinate risk that each signer of the Declaration of Independence took on themselves and their families in signing the Declaration of Independence? It had to be a courageous move on their part as members of the 2nd Continental Congress. Yet, what were their choices? If you long for freedom and can’t find a compromise that seems to work, what do you have to lose?
It is food for thought. It wasn’t easy for the 56 men of the 2nd Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence to do so, but failure to do so wasn’t an option with which they could live. If you long for freedom, give yourself permission to choose it. It may come with a price, but the price for not pursing it is greater than the price for forfeiting it.
All My Best!
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I hope you enjoyed this reading from one of my favorite bloggers.
Until next time …