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What Is Freedom?

Today is Loyalist Day in Ontario and Juneteenth. What do they have in common? They are both celebrating Freedom. Freedom from oppression and persecution, freedom to choose where we want to live, what we want to believe, freedom to live life.

We take our freedom for granted, couldn't imagine life without it, but there were times in our history that our forefathers made great sacrifices to obtain and keep their freedom and ensure the freedom of future generations.

The Revolutionary war took away many people's freedom of choice, either you had to take up arms against the British or you were the enemy, there was no neutral ground. Whether because of differing political beliefs, religious beliefs or personal beliefs, if you didn't comply you were persecuted. These are the times that our ancestors lived in, never knowing if their long-time neighbours and friends today would be their enemies tomorrow.

Freedom is not physical, it's a state of mind. Hope and faith, that is what kept our Loyalist ancestors going against all odds. Without them there is no sense of direction, no future. We will comply with anything as long as it makes life easier, forgoing our beliefs and long-term goals for an easy way out.

Today's youth, more and more, are losing hope and faith, in their leaders, their government, their world. It is up to us to give that back to them, tell them of the struggles that our ancestors went through for our freedom, they may recognize their sacrifices and want to honour them by being more hopeful for their own futures. Only with hope and faith are you truly free!

Ancestral Notes by Earline Hines Bradt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

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