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Juneteenth comes to Coeur d'Alene

| June 17, 2010 9:00 PM

Ours is a big and varied country, with subcultures that make living in one region a different experience from the others.One of the big events in Texas culture was Juneteenth. Every year offered multiple Houston celebrations of this liberation day; the biggest was in Memorial Park - one massive citywide picnic, a free orchestra performance, and day-long activities. While I love living here, it's seemed so odd these 10 years not to commemorate such a major event in U.S. history.

This year, thanks to the Human Rights Education Institute, we get our own Juneteenth musical picnic at HREI near City Park on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And it's "free at last." In this age of instant information it's hard to imagine that news could take years to reach all parts of the country. Juneteenth marks the end of an almost three-year journey announcing President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, finally ending slavery in the U.S.

While the proclamation took effect on Sept. 22, 1862, it didn't reach its final destination of Texas until June 19, 1865. It also took delivery by a general and 2,000 troops to make sure the message was clear: No more kidnapping, abuse and torture of human beings. That's a level of liberation that, for me, beats July 4.While the change in law was domestic, the U.S. isn't the only country that celebrates Juneteenth; sadly, slavery was and is a worldwide issue. Other nations with Juneteenth celebrations include Japan, Ghana, Israel, Guam, Trinidad, Taiwan, France, Barbados, Germany and China.

Some things remain universal among all peoples, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, culture, or economic status. The desire to be the master of one's own destiny, to be truly free, is in man's nature. It is the frustration of that desire - the attempts by some to exert control over others - that is at the heart of the world's depressingly unnecessary troubles.The greatest test of a belief in liberty is to refrain from imposing one's desires upon others.

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Send email to sholehjo@hotmail.com

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