Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog

11.09.2006

Celebrate the Season

By Nathan

The holiday season is upon us. No, I'm not referring to those the frenzied days of parties and piling on credit card debt. It's the season--the six-week span from early November to mid-December-- that reminds us exactly of what it means to be an American. Perhaps at no other time of the year do we spend as much time reflecting on and participating in our democracy.

The season commences in early November with a pilgrimage to the polls to anoint our chosen leaders and repudiate those who have lead us astray. Like a secular confessional, we enter the voting booth, weigh critical decisions and unload our conscience. Afterwards, we celebrate--or mourn--and chart our national course for the coming year. On November 11, Veterans Day--the day that was intended to mark the cessation of the War to End All Wars--we acknowledge that grim irony and honor those who have laid down their lives to defend our nation. The fourth Thursday of the month, we gather on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends to show gratitude, honor the sacrifices of our ancestors, and celebrate the remarkable, if not controversial establishment of our culture in North America. On December 7, we mark the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. We remember that there are those who would seek to destroy our way of life and recognize the need to be vigilant in protecting it. Finally, the season culminates with Bill of Rights Day on December 15. Here, we remember the sacred ideals of America—to believe, to associate, to live as our consciences dictate and that those freedoms are endowed to us not by kings or presidents, but by nature.

I that we can all spend some time in the coming weeks to reflect on the blessings and costs of liberty. Here's to a great season and happy holidays!

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SHAWN HEALY

Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project


Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.



Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.


First Amendment journalism initiative


The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at