While I’ve seen a lot of the world in the last 15 years which has allowed me to dispel many myths predicated in me as a result of my American Public School education. One concept has not waiver-ed or changed and that is knowing freedom as in “America” since it is plentiful we sometimes forget the over abundance of it we are granted by those who came before us who stood up to the few for the benefit of the many.
Offend I think of the people in North Korea where generation upon generation have been born to live their life only to die and never know their freedom being held more a kin to an animal in a zoo rather than a human spirit with the power to change the world. Here unfortunately we [Americans] forget that this “gift” is a hard earned privilege which must be re-earned on a regular basis as with any “privilege” it can be taken back by the few far easier then it was won by the many.
Before seeing the world and in my younger days there was one story which brought this home for me and it wasn’t even an American story per say even thou it had an “American” ending. As it was when I was working on my Undergrad Degree I had decided to take an International Cultures class as the major of my degree was “Business Leadership” and it was clear the future was going to be global.
As it turned out the professor for the class was Iranian by birth and in his mid thirties at the time and for the first few classes with the decidedly American student body there was mild tension to say the least. As for those old enough to remember this was in near memory distance of the iconic “Iranian Hostage Crisis” which seemed to be the seed for this tension as well as the “unknown” element that a different culture other than our own brings (ironically this was why we were all in the class any way).
After several class sessions of this odd tension, he challenged the class as to what their issue was with him or what he had done. Well you know every class has one, an over zealot xenophobic bigot who promptly spoke up and said “your Iranian and I hate you” which led to follow on’s from other classmates who while less zealot where just as big xenophobic bigot’s piled on with various slanderous comments regarding the basically unknown to them mans lineage.
After a few minutes of this ruckus which he was forced to endure, the professor was able to calmly pull things back a bit and posed a question to the over zealot xenophobic bigot who started the negative discussion and asked him, at 14 with your parents killed by the state did you have to sneak through barb wire with your little brother in tow while being shot at to cross a harsh desert boarder without food or water to seek your freedom?
At 14 my biggest worry was if there was enough milk left over in the evening for Oreo cookies because my Mom didn’t have time to pick some up on her way home. This lays in far contrast of what this man had endure for his freedom and even pales in consideration of the ultimate sacrifice others have given being their life for freedom. So while today maybe a fine day to enjoy friends and family, let’s not forget what bought us this ability to enjoy them and the price we must pay every day to keep it…