Thanksgiving: a day to express gratitude for a bountiful harvest, or a day to celebrate gluttony? While I certainly did indulge in the latter, let it not be said that I omitted the former. While there are endless other quotidians for which I am grateful, I shall not bore you by listing them here. Instead, let me share something that I found, which expresses a kind of gratitude normally reserved only for the more patriotic holidays.
For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought — no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings; no claims for my limbs; no lashes for my back; no fires for my flesh; no following another’s steps; no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.
And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love:
- To all the heroes, the thinkers, who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain
- For the freedom of labor and thought
- To those who fell on the fierce fields of war
- To those who died in dungeons bound with chains
- To those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs
- To those by fire consumed
- To all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons and daughters of men and women
And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they have held, and hold it high, that light may conquer darkness still.