by Cynthia Toney
If you could speak with your original ancestors who came to America, what do you think that they would tell you about their hopes and dreams in this new land?
Perhaps the decision to come to America was not theirs to make, as in the case of an orphaned child traveling with another family (e.g., my great-grandfather). Maybe they were prisoners or slaves.
Even if they understood one of the languages being spoken, chances are that they could not read or write. Likely, they would have had little or no money, and few, if any, valuables.
Despite the odds, they would have clung to the hope that they would be free – either free for the first time or free from captivity once again.
They may have acquired freedom within the course of their lifetimes – escaping child labor to go to school, or later, to travel freely or open a business. Remembering their previous lives, they likely thanked God each day for the opportunities and independence they now enjoyed.
If an early ancestor died, was incarcerated or enslaved, his dream was passed to the next generation which nurtured the dream for the next, if necessary, until the blessed day when his descendants were free. Imagine the joy that future generations experienced – liberated after two, 20 or 200 years of their fathers or the fathers of many previous generations living without freedom.
Regardless of your family’s history, you are the product of that earliest American ancestor’s quest for freedom. Think about your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Have you made the most of them – or would that early ancestor think that you wasted them? Even worse, would he feel that you allowed them be destroyed?
I pray that, as a nation, we will work as arduously at preserving our freedom as our ancestors dreamed about acquiring it. No one can be independent without freedom, and no one can be truly free unless he is independent.
Celebrate your sovereignty, and have a safe and happy Fourth of July.