Thursday, November 11, 2010



Today is Veteran's Day. Officially, it is a day to spend honoring those who have fought in the military. Many of those who are veterans joined the military specifically to protect our freedoms as Americans and to bring freedom to those in other nations who were oppressed. In my own family, I have brave men who gave of themselves to ensure that we stayed free as a family, men like my Papa Roy who served during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war. My husband Jim served as both a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and was a Green Beret with a National Guard unit.

Roy spent time in a Korean P.O.W. camp because of his willingness to serve his country and fight for the freedom of others in Asia. Others have given their very lives and served their nation, their neighbors, their families thru dying.

The occasion led me to think of freedom fighters of other nature, those who have fought for freedom not as military soldiers, but as fighters in other kinds of wars.

There are the doctors and nurses and researchers who fight daily against death and disease.

There are the pastors and missionaries who fight day in and day out against the darkness and bondage of sin.

There are the teachers who fight in the classroom against ignorance and illiteracy that lead to poverty, crime, and despair.

There are orphan advocates who fight to bring hope and help to the most vulnerable.

There are those who spend their nights hitting the streets and clubs fighting against the bonds of human trafficking and the degrading sex trade.

There are those who pour out their lives fighting for human rights such as those who fought so valiantly in the American Civil Rights Movement of a few decades ago. Crosses were burned in yards. Rocks were thrown through windows. School children were cursed at with screams of hatred. College students had food poured on their heads in cafes. Fathers were fired from their jobs. Mothers stood by the graves of their dead sons and daughters. Children grew up without parents. Hundreds were thrown in prison.

In 1961, large numbers of young protestors rode buses into the segregated south to protest unfair treatment of blacks. Those protestors faced beatings and imprisonment.

In fact, right here in Mississippi, 14 year old Hezekiah Watkins was sent to the state prison, Parchman, for his participation in the Freedom Riders protest.

The first time he was arrested, was a bit of a mistake. But after being released, he went on to be arrested another 100+ times.

For fighting for freedom. For fighting for the right to attend school with white kids, go to the university of his choice, live where he wanted, pursue the career of his dreams.

He wasn't imprisoned because he had set off a bomb or opened fire on a crowd of people. He was imprisoned for peacefully protesting against the atrocious injustices that were part of the American landscape, primarily here in the south.

Today, I am thankful for all those fighting for freedom, and those include young teenagers like Hezekiah Watkins and his fellow Freedom Riders, young and older, black and white, Christian and Jew.

We are free today because of their sacrifices and courage, not they they were free from fear, but because they were willing to do the right thing despite the fears, despite the consequences.

Are we willing to be Freedom Fighters despite the cost?


For local folks, a special tribute to the Freedom Riders of 1961 will be held tonight in Jackson.

Where? Alamo Theater, Farish Street

When? 7:00 pm

What? This free admission program will feature scenes from a new PBS documentary about the Freedom Riders along with a panel discussion by some of the actual Freedom Riders. Hezekiah Watkins, the youngest of the Riders, will be participating.

For more information, go to:

No comments: