Last night we attended a vigil…it was entitled Lights for Liberty

It was set up to protest the treatment of immigrants 

who have come to America to be safe, to be happy…to be free.


I’m sad to admit when we were about to leave we looked out in our back yard

and for a moment thought about not going…it was raining a little too hard.


We thought about not going to this protest…

protesting centers where children’s basic needs are not being met

because it was too windy…

to rainy…

We thought of not going…because we might get a little too wet!


And it made me wonder have we become too jaded

has treating people this way become so much the norm

that when given the chance to stand up and fight

we might not go…because of a little storm?


We live in a wonderful country 

where our freedom is constantly on display

but it’s up to those of us who are free here

to keep fighting to keep it this way…


To raise our voices in protest

To light a candle for the whole world to see

To stand up and not sit down again 

until everyone in this country is free.


So we ventured out in spite of the rain

we sang songs, lit our candles too

and we added our voices to the voices of others

speaking for the ones…no one is listening to.


And now that the candle has been lit

may we never again let complacency make us forget what this protest is about!

And my we never again let a little rain…

or the inhumane policies of our government

douse that flame 


or blow our candle out.

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There is so much that is wrong with the United States…

and even though our founders were farsighted

the country they created

Is far from one united.


But as I marched with women yesterday 

through the streets in broad daylight

I was focused less on what is wrong with our country…

and more on what is right.


I marched with people I’d never met before

I marched with them…shoulder to shoulder

I marched with many people younger than me

I marched with many people older.


I marched with people of different religions

Different colors,…different abilities

Different sizes, different sexual preferences

Different shapes and ethnicities.


We came together for our own reasons

different objectives…varying appetites…

but we had one thing in common…

we marched for human rights.


We marched so all humans can be free

We marched to show all humans that we care…

We marched so all humans can be safe…

We marched for humans…everywhere


We marched to change what we think is wrong with our country…

Humans united in one crowd

And as we marched together I couldn’t help thinking…


Our founders would be proud.


Our preamble begins with We the People.

Three words that still enthrall

as does the ending of our Pledge of Allegiance 

with liberty and justice for all.


The founders of our country 

placed enormous importance on the idea of liberty

and an equal amount of importance 

on the need for equality.


These were the two pillars that created our country

held up for all the world to see:

That everyone in America is equal… 

That everyone is free.


But as I look around our country

I’m saddened by what I see.

More people are talking about freedom 

and less about equality


They want to be free to intimidate, free to victimize,

Free to bully…to discriminate

Free to lie, deceive and cheat…

Free to scorn and curse and hate.


Free to put themselves above We the People

’Til it seems their point of view

is one of liberty for them

and justice for a few.


With our pillars crumbling America is leaning

and unless there is liberty and justice for all…

unless we give as much weight to equality as to freedom

I’m afraid she’s going to fall.



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My father fought in World War II. He knew what he was fighting for.

He lost most of his hearing in a foxhole…in that war to end all wars.


“It is but a small price to pay.” He’d say. “This hearing that I lack.”

“For many of those I fought with…” he paused..never made it back.”


“None of us were warriors…just kids doing what we thought was right.

for, sometimes, when it comes to freedom… 

you have no choice but to fight.”


Many people fought in that war…They fought for you..they fought for me.

They fought so we could live in a country…where we are safe…where we are free.


They fought for our freedom to be who we are…They fought for our diversity…

They fought for our freedom to be different…our freedom to disagree.


They knew freedom would not be easy…It’s why they fought that war…

They knew freedom could be a struggle

Of course…that’s what they were fighting for.


I will proudly stand when our flag is raised…I’ll stand from sea to shining sea…

And I will proudly stand with my hand on the shoulder of anyone who takes a knee.


We must listen to one another…

And come together across this land….

We must build a country that, every time our flag is raised,

all the people will proudly stand.


Because freedom is not dictatorial…it’s not oppressive

It’s not demanding….

Freedom is acceptance…it is patience….

It’s compromise and understanding. 


But we seem to have forgotten that in America…

and it begs the question HOW…

How can I justify all those soldiers who died…

and my father losing his hearing…


if we refuse to listen to each other now?

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When the old man got up to dance his limbs flailed everywhere.

Some people watching began to laugh…but the old man didn't care.


He closed his eyes and pictured in his mind waves dancing upon the shore

then he smiled, swayed to the music…and then he danced some more.


As his arms and legs began to thrash and as he buckled at the knees…

he’d pictured himself a bird waltzing on air or the wind dancing in the trees.


“Dancing is a lot like life,” he believed,…

in both there is an art…

In one you learn to dance with your feet…

in another to dance with your heart.


So he danced and he danced and he danced…

every time he got the chance…

and every stumble he incurred…

he made part of the dance…


And he smiled no matter what happened…

as he danced through life each day 

Because, he knew: what good is life if he can’t enjoy…

each step along the way.


And so the old man danced…

and his dancing was entrancing…

and he never cared what other might think…


for he was much too busy dancing.

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We heard the little bird before we saw her…

as hand in hand we walked along

for it made us stop and listen

when the tree exhaled her song.


“She is so beautiful.” I whispered,

“and her song is so divine,

I wish that I could capture her…

I wish that she was mine.”


I would keep her in my bedroom.

She wouldn’t have to live within a tree.

I would feed her, clean her…love her…

and she would only sing for me.”


“Yes, you could take the little bird home.” Mom smiled

“You could care for her…give her a name,

but no matter how often she sang for you

her song wouldn’t sound the same.”


“What makes her song so beautiful

is how the sun peeks through the tree.

it’s the morning dew..the clouds, the breeze we feel

and the fact that she is free.”


“In your room she would only sing for you

but unless she is a part

of the sky, the trees, the clouds, the wind…

her song can’t touch your heart.”


I have thought about that moment often

and the importance of being free

for everyone’s hearts deserves to sing…


like that little bird…and me.

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Today we celebrate our freedom…how proud and lucky are we…

to live in a land we love so much…a land where we are free…


But freedom, like the Earth herself, while continually revolving

like her plants, her animals, her landscapes…her people…

is constantly evolving.


We have a host of basic freedoms which we enjoy unabashedly

but we still don’t live in a world where everyone is free…


For it seems to me the arms of Freedom will never extend very far

until we can all accept what those basic freedoms are..


Until we understand that part of freedom is the freedom to disagree

Until we can control our freedom for hate and bigotry…


But if each generation tries to improve their freedoms

before they slip into the past

then the next generation…and the next…and the next…

will be freer than the last.


Until we find the whole world celebrating…not just you and me…

A world that has come together…a world that is truly free.


Yes, we’re still a work in progress and we’ve got a long way to go


But I for one stand proud and ready to watch our freedom grow.

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Is This What She Meant?

Yesterday for perverse reasons...like prejudice, fear and hate,

we began to turn our backs 

on the very people who made this country great.


We began to strip away the principles our founding fathers had endowed.

As a citizen of the United States...

this does not make me proud.


It seems to me this country that I love...

is falling victim to bigotry and hate

How could we have forgotten what it is that makes us great?


As our principal symbol of freedom,

Liberty’s true complement...

Do you think she’s still standing proud today?


Do you think this is what she meant?

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Why do we always end up in the place where we began?

Why is it freedom slips away and dies in every land?


I think the problem lies within the reason why men fight.

For it is not to win the war then stand guard day and night


with vigilance, no sadly this is not the cause at all.

And so the stage is set that every time they rise they fall.


For time has shown they do not fight to make sure they are free.

No, rather they fight for the chance to live their lives at ease.