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Column: Sing out for freedom

By Michael Goforth
Scripps Howard News Service
From Faneuil Hall in Boston and the Statehouse in Philadelphia, from the taverns and the private homes from Canada to the Carolinas where men gathered to debate British tyranny and the prospects for independence …
Sing out for freedom.
Recall the farmers and the lawyers, the scientists and the scholars who pledged their lives to one another with oaths and prayers, who vowed to cast off the shackles burdening themselves and their families, who spoke out boldly in pursuit of a nation like none other, and …
Sing out for freedom.
Remember the men and boys who picked up arms against the awesomely powerful British Empire. Remember the smell of gunpowder and blood at Concord and Breed’s Hill and King’s Mountain and Cowpens.
Remember the families torn apart and the brothers fighting brothers.
Remember the victory, and …
Sing out for freedom.
And remember, too, the men and women who pledged their lives and sacred honor to the protection of liberty-loving nations in world wars, in battlefields hot and wet, cold and barren, in Korea and Vietnam, in the Middle East, with deadly tolls, successes and failures, urging all who will to …
Sing out for freedom.
Within a Constitution, amended in changing times, we have granted rights to women, to African-Americans, to immigrants longing for the promise of America, to the disabled of mind and body, to the young child and the old man. We grant promises so all can …
Sing out for freedom.
Within our city halls and our legislatures and in our nation’s capital are those we have freely chosen to represent us. And when we disagree with their actions, we can freely criticize. We can cast them out with only our displeasure as reason. That is our legacy and our right.
Sing out for freedom.
In our courtrooms stand the innocent and the guilty, chosen so by their peers and not by the rich and powerful, a royal elite, a dictator or his surrogates. We have a right to challenge our accusers and to defend ourselves with vigor.
We have rights to the property we own. It cannot be unjustly taken. We have rights to our own bodies.
No one has the right to harm us.
Sing out for freedom.
In our chapels and churches, tabernacles, synagogues, mosques, or under forest moons, we can join with others of like mind in faith. We can pray, we can share, we can raise our voices to the heavens, without fear of government control over how and what we believe in peace.
Sing out for freedom.
We are granted the right to read as we want, to sample wisdom and foolishness, to praise, to question, to doubt, to challenge, to grow in understanding of mankind and mankind’s relationships with fellow beings, Earth, the stars, inner selves, and gods.
Sing out for freedom.
We can travel throughout the land, from the cold waters of the Pacific to the warm waters of the Florida Keys, from the rolling fields of grain to the majestic snow-capped mountains, from the little New England fishing village to the big-city glitter of New York and Las Vegas, from the cow farms of Texas to the beaches of the Treasure Coast. We can travel by foot, by car, by boat and by buggy, by train and by plane, by bicycle and by balloon. No checkpoints with armed guards stop us. No fences border our states or our cities to keep us out.
Sing out for freedom.
You can pierce your nose. Tattoo your arm with a rose. Wear your pants too tight and your shirt too loose. Dress like a bum, if you choose, or dress like a movie star. Get on the Internet and say what you want. Write a letter to the president. Write a protest song or a hymn or a rap song with offensive lyrics.
You can be yourself.
Sing out for freedom.
Have a hot dog. Have a beer, if it’s legal. Watch a parade with red, white and blue bunting. Enjoy fireworks blasting overhead as patriotic music plays.
And, while enjoying this holiday, think of the possibilities to …
Sing out for freedom.

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