February 1st commemorates the day when Abraham Lincoln signed a joint resolution that proposed the 13th amendment to the US constitution that was made to outlaw slavery. Major Richard Robert Wright, SR, a former slave himself created Nation Freedom Day. It was not until June 30, 1948 that President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1st as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States.
The purpose of this holiday is to promote good feelings, harmony and equal opportunity among citizens. And for all of us to remember that the US is a place where we should be dedicated to the ideal of freedom.
If only we could remember every day that each person should be treated equal regardless of race, sex, beliefs, income, age or gender. We are all human beings trying to live in harmony in this world. At one point all our ancestors came from somewhere else besides America. To me being an American means a “potluck” of ancestry. I am made up of all types of human races tracing all the way back to Native Americans.
We should remember that at one point in our history we had to have a 13th amendment signed because we could not possibly treat each other equal. How far have we really come? We no longer have slaves, but we still treat others poorly, refuse services to those human beings who do not believe in the same thing as us and we become outraged when someone steps outside of the “normal” belief to follow what they think might be their true calling.
I hope I continue to teach my kids they do not have to like or love every person they meet or see. However, they must always treat them with kindness and respect. You do not have to agree with someone or even try to understand someone who is different then you. That is what makes us human. We are all different. We must live in a world where we value the differences each of us possess as we are all made up of different beliefs and values and have different ages, incomes and race. Without kindness and respect there can be no hope. I hope that everyone takes a moment on February 1st to reflect upon themselves and how they are treating those around them and remember what it took for our ancestors to be free.
The Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated.”