“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Not much time to chat due to grandparent duties but I did want
to squeeze in a thought that has been percolating in my brain…
That being the thought of history and time.
Pretty deep and vast subject matter I know, but
perhaps the point of this percolating is more subtle and succinct
then the topics themselves.
I have to admit that, years back, when I got my first Apple computer along
with an eventual iPhone, I began to utilize the e-calendars on those devices.
Traditionally I had kept a wall calendar at home as well as in my classroom.
Never one to use one of those notebook planner / organizers that
Stephen Covey made so popular in the 1980’s, I stored most dates in my head.
I tried planners but I was not dutiful when it came to working in them
as one was expected. I was usually on the move, so much so, that storing
things in my head just worked for me.
And that head system of mine worked pretty well throughout my tenure
as a teacher until I began to notice that I would miss a hair appointment here
or a meeting there…getting days and weeks a bit skewed.
We call that age.
So wall calendars were big with me…
Once technology began to trickle into both my professional and personal life,
the electronic calendars were quite handy as I especially liked the alert
systems allowing my device to alert me as to an upcoming appointment.
However I was a little peeved when I realized Apple had pre-inserted various
“holidays” onto the calendars.
Some “holidays” I knew, some I did not.
Now I understood having the biggie National holidays marked
as most business, banks and post offices are to be closed.
And it was good to see where days, say like, Thanksgiving or July 4th,
were going to fall during a week when it came to planning time off,
trips or family gatherings.
And I suppose having Ground Hog day pre-marked is a good thing
if you like using a giant rodent as a weatherman…
yet in our family, having that date marked was good because it also happened
to be Aunt Martha’s birthday.
However I have to admit that there were a few “holidays” that I would
have preferred having the option to delete as they were
not pertinent to me and my world.
When I first saw Juneteenth, marked on June 19th, I had no idea as to
what that was all about.
It seemed so random.
Was it some sort of millennial thing that I was not privy to…?
Well naturally, I needed to investigate.
As a one time history major…
how did some things ever seem to elude my studies?
Or was it merely presented as a different name as the notion of a Juneteenth was indeed more new to me than old?
Juneteenth it seems, marked a day for the emancipation of enslaved
So why not just call it Emancipation Day?
And so through my investigating, I discovered that it was indeed referred to
as Emancipation Day in Texas as well as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day or
I think I like Jubilee Day the best as that is indeed something to
have been jubilant over!
So now I get it.
But what I don’t get, is why there are now groups of folks out there
who are saying that July 4th should no longer be relevant…??!!
There are sectors now claiming that America’s day of Independence should
not be recognized.
As in July 4th is not a day of liberation from tyranny…
They are saying that it is not a day of independence
for black, brown, red or yellow Americans…
Now I’ve written long and hard about the importance of a
young Nation’s fight for independence.
That that initial fight for freedom was but the beginning of
many freedom fights to come.
One begetting but another.
I’ve written about how Betsy Ross and her flag were not and are
not symbols of racism—as she was both a pacifist as well
as an abolitionist.
Here’s a link to that previous post:
And I noted in that previous post..
“Slavery was not a new problem to a new Nation.
Nor was it a problem created by the new Nation.
It had been a form of “free labor” used by other Nations long before
there were 13 colonies and even before there had been a new land.
And the Quakers (of which Betsy Ross belonged) were actually
one of the first religious groups to denounce the ownership of slaves
and vocally oppose the practice of slavery.
Betsy Ross, the Continental Congress, and the new flag had nothing to do with racism
or slavery…end of sentence.”
So when I read or hear of certain groups out there clamoring that
July 4th is not representative to all Americans or that it is
not a day that all Americans should recognize as a day of this Nation’s
independence…well I get a bit rankled.
Like I say…that fight for freedom set in motion more freedom fights
And so when I hear such talk, I feel it’s important to remind
folks of a few facts…
Facts like Betsy Ross, along with the flag she created to be carried
by the Revolutionary soldiers, had nothing to do with the new
hot button word, racism.
Or the little fact that men, both black and white, actually had the
right to vote long before any color of women.
So after a hard fought emancipation, came a suffrage movement…
where eventually all Americans were afforded the privilege to vote in
free and open elections.
But hearing so much talk these days about separating black from white…
I just don’t understand.
Wasn’t the quest for emancipation to have all people in this country
living free and on equal footing with one another?
Having the same sorts of opportunities—not hand outs but
And in turn, didn’t generations before today’s new angry and woke generation,
fight hard to bring about that same equal footing???—was it not their desire
for the divisiveness and strife to end??
And yet today, are we not seeing a backwards trend?
Rather than the hopes and toil of all those Americans, of all colors,
in previous generations who labored just so you and I could work side by side
in a Nation that is both by the people and for the people…we now
have a new generation who wants to go back to separations and division…
back to hate and immense anger…
The unity so many fought for and even died for…is now unraveling before
our very eyes…
May it not be so.
As we ready for another year’s Day of Independence may we remember
to honor all those men and women of all backgrounds, both past and present,
who made, and continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for our ability
to be free…
and sadly that freedom seems to now be a matter of fussing and cussing with
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!