Juneteenth: Emancipation for Humanity

Slavery, Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham , Juneteenth

Image Source: North Amarillo Now

Slavery has remained one of the darkest clouds in the history of the United States and in many parts of the world. Slaves were not even considered people, but property like cattle. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. This proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states (more than 3 million enslaved people in designated areas of the South) “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the day Union General Gordon Granger along with 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas (a rebellious state) to take possession of the state in order to enforce the emancipation of its slaves.

I always wondered whether the last line of the poem, Defence of Fort M’Henry written in 1814 by poet Francis Scott Key, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave (better known in our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner) had any significance behind the writing and execution of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? There are many resources for learning about the historical influences behind Juneteenth. You can find out more about this holiday and how it is celebrated 152 years later around the country, by visiting Juneteenth.com.

Happy Juneteenth!

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Celebrating Independence Day in the USA

Happy_July_4thWishing everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Declaration of Independence, Independence Day, Fourth of July

Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence

So what’s the big deal about the 4th of July, celebrated in the United States of America, aside from the picnics, fireworks, concerts, festivals, parades and family reunions? The Fourth of July or Independence Day is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which was the date the United States formally declared its independence from Great Britain and British rule.

According to Wikipedia, during the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776. The Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain rule. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

Today, we celebrate 239 years of independence, which we are truly blessed and grateful to have, in the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!”

 

Why Are You Celebrating the 4th of July?

Why are you celebrating the 4th of July today? Is it because of the cookouts? Because you have the day off? Because there are going to be some slammin’ fireworks lighting up the sky tonight? Because of the parades? Or because there will be some awesome outdoor concerts to groove to?

While all of these reasons are typical for commemorating this day, let’s not forget the real reasons why we are celebrating with food, fun, family and friends. Don’t forget about the sacrifices for freedom that many of our ancestors and service personnel fought so hard for and died because of it. Don’t forget about the paths that were laid for justice and equality for all. Don’t forget about how God blessed this country even though we often behave in such a manner that is so undeserving. Don’t forget about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Amendments and the blessing it is to be a citizen of this great nation.

All too often we abuse these rights and take them for granted. It’s painful to know that many born in America will flunk the exam that foreigners study for in order to become a citizen of this country. It is not acceptable to not be able to sing our National Anthem. It is not acceptable to not know what the stars and stripes mean in our flag. It is not acceptable to not be able to fully recite our Pledge of Allegiance. It is not acceptable to not know the history of this country or your ancestry. It is not acceptable that although we have moved from an agricultural and industrial era, to an era of modern technology, that we disregard skilled labor. Because of the past, is why we celebrate the present and must lay an edifying pathway for those who we pass on the torch to, who will light our future.

So in your celebration today, be sure to take a moment to reflect and remember, while celebrating with fun and passion.

Have a safe, blessed and Happy 4th of July!