Archive for Wednesday, October 13, 1999

For that which we are searching

October 13, 1999

Every once in a while, life sends a memo when we're least expecting it. This happened to me last Thursday morning as I was driving down a street in McLouth.

"Liberty," a street sign read.

Immediately I had the image of the town's founders debating what names they should give to the streets. Women in long dresses and ankle-high boots, men wearing vests over their longsleeved starched shirts. People not too far removed from the battle cries of a country recently divided, and more recently reunited. Survivors of a homegrown war who had fought, or who had known those who had fought in the battle that would mean freedom for all.

Did they name the street Liberty, hoping that this road paved would continue through the years, widening in a scope and depth that even they could never have imagined?

And today, if they could re-enter our world and look around, would they wonder about the value of liberty?

Would they look at our nation where children enter schools and kill other children with guns, would they look at a country torn schizophrenic as societal moral values are pitted against desires of the flesh, would they look at the world of television and wonder how a country geared for freedom could have ever allowed itself to be trapped by the influence of the mass media? Would they look at the violence of children's video games and wonder how a society could have moved so quickly from killing for survival to killing for entertainment?

On the other hand, would they see a country where education is an equal opportunity? Where a person can start at the bottom and move to the top. Would they realize that the health care that could have saved their lives many times over is now available for all? Would they marvel at our transportation and at our ability not only to travel down any road we want, but also to take to the skies as well? And, like us, when they looked at the moon and the starswould they see the endless possibilities?

To name the street Liberty, the settlers may just have pulled a name from a hat, or perhaps the street was named only a few years ago.
But I prefer to think that a century ago, liberty was as important to our forefathers as it is to us today.

And so, as the weathered street sign stands nearly forgotten in a quiet corner of Kansas, we remain even as we swerve to avoid potholes and set our sights on smooth highway driving a world in search of liberty.

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