Way back in 1865, America was reeling from the effects of the Civil War. Texas, however, had no part in the conflict. In fact, many slaves moved to the Lone Star State to flee the battle. When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, it took some time for the news to reach Texas. Thus slavery continued a while until Union General Gordon Granger, read General Order Number 3 from a balcony in Ashton Villa.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
The slaves in Texas were the last to be freed. This was a day of joy for them. Freedom always comes at a cost. The blood shed during the long conflict for emancipation was superfluous. Years passed, lives were lost or changed forever, brothers fought against brothers. In spite of that loss, we still continue to fight the Civil War in different ways.
Today, freedom is available to anyone who comes here seeking it. Our doors are open to those who have been oppressed by other governments. We extend the arm of friendship, but still bias and segregation remain. Maybe not in the same way as before, but in the undertones of prejudice, anger, selfishness, narcissism and hatred.
Have we forgotten that America is a free nation? Have the tables turned in the last 150 years? Are we still engaged in a Civil dispute? No matter what the case, it’s time to put away malice, fear mongering, news that incites people into violent behavior and begin to heal. Freedom is a precious commodity and should be revered as such. Once we have it, we should not abuse it. Once we have gained it, we should be willing to give up old ways and start fresh.
We don’t have to wait until the war is over. The battle has already been won. We’ve been freed from a life of sin, by God, the Creator of the Universe. In the end, we know the result of that battle. It has already been won, by Jesus, our Savior!