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I have long been a student of history. It has been said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

When travelling, I often make it a point to visit historic sites, attractions, and living museums.

In sixty-three years on this planet, I did not learn the significance of this date until this week -- but we're never too old to learn. But this in 1865 is when the visions of our nation's founders became a reality.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...." -- Thomas Jefferson, U. S. Declaration of Independence, July 1776.

ALL men; not white men. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- God-given rights, until then unjustly deprived to some.

There's a very compelling case that this date marks the completion of the founding of our nation. It's true that slavery remained legal in two border states that never seceded from the union (Maryland and Delaware) until the ratification of the thirteenth article of amendment to our constitution, but the emancipation of the slaves in the states that seceded sealed its fate by ensuring sufficient supermajorities in both houses of Congress and among the legislatures of the several states to enact that amendment. That process, completed on the 6th of December of that year, was thus a mere formality.

There clearly is a very compelling argument for a national holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. The only real question is whether that holiday should occur on the 19th of June or the 6th of December. I'll support either date.

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