A Celebration to Remember

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand much about the world around me, but I knew what a bolo sandwich was. It was a thick cut of bologna with a little barbecue sauce between to slices of white bread. It was our answer to McDonald’s, especially during June. When you have four kids and a little money, bolos go farther. This week, I ran into a bolo sandwich, but now it looks like it comes as combo.

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops landed in Galveston, announced to the slaves that the war had ended and they were free.  Slaves and their descendants have been celebrating this day ever since. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Sometimes it is good just to see that our condition has improved.

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When I was a kid, we would get our hair done for the special occasion, and possibly a new outfit. I remember going to the park and watching the men play softball. As a young kid, I could not understand why we celebrated a separate independence day. My parents believed in celebrating Juneteenth. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that my people were not freed on July 4. Matter of fact, my enslaved relatives probably prepared the meals for their independence celebrations.

This reminds us that there are storms in life. And sometimes those storms are so bad we can hardly see past them. We are wet, cold and feel as though we are going to drown in it. I can’t imagine what it was like to work while my slave owner celebrated freedom from oppression.  But I am sure there was a light in there somewhere.

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But take courage.  There is someone outside your storm looking in on you. They have the power to stop it, but they know this is going to make you stronger. One day you or your children will look back and see it was all worth it.

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This week I got home in time to see the Juneteenth Parade. It was led by Fort Worth Police Officers. They were men and women from different races. In the first car was Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. I thought how my parents would have gotten a kick out of seeing how far this event had come.  To see that Juneteenth was not just celebrated by African Americans, but by many different Americans in a city in the South. Wow.

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