05 July 2009

Freedom Without Force

The Statue of Liberty looked so small from where I took this photograph, on a calm, peaceful, beautiful Sunday evening in New York in 1994.

A bombing in the basement of the building next door to where I was standing had happened eighteen months earlier, but that had not deterred me from taking in the view.

Walking down Wall Street on a Sunday evening was an interesting experience, too. It was very quiet.  There were no crowds.  There were very few people around at all.  Even the place I was visiting was quiet.  There were no queues, as far as I can remember.

Today is Sunday in Australia. I am up early, hearing the rainbow lorikeets squawk in the trees around me. In the United States it is still Saturday 4 July, or as they say over there, July 4.

The date of my visit to the World Trade Centre was 11 September 1994.   As I looked down on the little statue out in harbour, I wondered about its meaning:  Liberty enlightening the world.  When I visited the statue the following day, as well as Ellis Island, there were crowds everywhere.  I found more peace at the top of a tall tower on the other side of the water.

So much of world history has been shaped by force. Yet, at least to me, force is the opposite of the liberty for which the statue is a symbol.  I wish you peace, and freedom without force.


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