Today is the day the United States of America celebrates its independence from British rule. Since July 4, 1776 the great country of my birth has celebrated its freedom. Ironically all were not free within its borders, those primarily of African decent were enslaved as servants mostly in Southern states. There are exceptions of course including some enslaved Native Americans as well as slaves north of the Mason Dixon line. Just a few weeks ago Juneteenth was celebrated, which is June 19th and celebrates the day in 1865 when word reached slaves in Texas that they were emancipated.
We are now 147 years past the emancipation and 236 years past the country’s independence so let’s celebrate and be grateful for overall freedom. I am happy to live in a country where overall I am free to live as I desire. In addition I have the opportunity to do and become whatever I choose. Yes having the right connections as well as talent in the endeavor I pursue will help. Still, I am motivated by my ancestors who with very little, gained much prominence and success in their communities. My grandfather the late William L. Hamilton is example of someone who with talent and conviction attained great success.
At the age of 15, with a small paste board suitcase and the money earned from selling his share of the family farm to his brother he went to seek a better education. Even when one day, he returned to his uncle’s house to find it abandon he didn’t let his dream of a better life stop him. Eventually with hard work and studying he attained his Bachelors degree and later Masters in Education to ultimately work in the school system as a primary school principal for 30 plus years. In his 90’s he would take his first airplane ride to receive the Thomas Jefferson Humanitarian Award in Washington, DC as well as being awarded an Honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from his undergraduate alma mater.
Being blessed to live under his roof, I took the opportunity to find out what made him tick. He provided what I believe are my best life lessons. My grandfather stated that he lived by three L’s of life. First, he believed it was important to love but most importantly to love yourself as well as loving the Lord. Love is one of the greatest gifts you can give or receive. Hate kills but love breathes life and lives forever. Secondly, learn something new everyday. My grandfather was a school board member and sought my advice on the importance of computers in the classroom. He was always open to new knowledge stating that it kept him young. Finally, he advised me to laugh every day. He read the comics before reading any other section of the newspaper. My grandfather jokingly stated that he didn’t want to accidentally see his name in the obituary sectIon.
I hold the advice from my grandfather close to my heart. And I utilize his 3Ls of life. He lived to be just under 95 years old and survived a surgery at 92 to remove sub dermal hematoma from his brain. His life was filled with opportunity that might have been difficult to achieve in any other nation. My grandfather truly lived the American Dream, so to him I say cheers to freedom