Fourth of July is about more than barbecues, family outings, and a day off from work (for most). It’s also a time to reflect on the principles and liberties upon which our country is founded. In honor of Independence Day, we asked some United Way of Greater Nashua supporters the following question:
What act of independence – by an historical figure or someone you know – influenced you and why?
“My grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy at 16 years old by himself with a third-grade education and virtually nothing else. He made a better life for himself with a positive attitude and strong work ethic, and he’s been a great source of inspiration for me.”
– Denise Boyd, Nashua resident, United Way volunteer
“I’m inspired a lot by Harriet Tubman, who ran the Underground Railroad and risked her life to secure the freedom of so many under the plight of slavery. It’s stories about people like her that refused to accept the status quo as the way things are supposed to be and instead fought for change, freedom, and independence against immeasurable odds. We’re fortunate to live in a country today that allows us to speak up and contest the government when we think something is wrong; an independence given to us that makes it so we aren’t forced to compromise to what is dictated as right and wrong, but we are allowed to change laws and be a part of creating an even freer and more equal world as we realize more injustices in the system. The ruling last Friday on marriage equality is a great example of that.”
– Christina Smigiel of BAE Systems, United Way volunteer
“Most people know Sacagawea as the Native American woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. Sacagawea embraced life in spite of all the hardships she endured. She was kidnapped when she was about 12 and taken as a wife a year later by a trapper who later was hired by Lewis and Clark. According to a well-researched novel by Anna Lee Waldo, Sacajawea always stepped up to do whatever she could for the good of the expedition. Even though she was considered the “property” of her husband, she was quite independent. She made the most of whatever situation she found herself in, made sacrifices without complaining, faced danger without hesitation, and was not afraid to speak up for herself.
The National American Woman Suffrage Association of the early 20th century adopted Sacagawea as a symbol of women’s independence and worth. They erected statues and plaques in her memory and spread the story of her accomplishments. In 2001, Sacagawea was given the tile of Honorary Sergeant, Regular Army, by President Bill Clinton.
This Independence Day, I will be thinking of Sacagawea and all Americans who have displayed patriotic passion over the history of our great country. “
– Ronna Worth of BAE Systems, United Way volunteer
Who influenced you? Leave a comment, below.
Interested in volunteering this summer? Check out several volunteer opportunities in Greater Nashua, and sign up for the volunteering e-newsletter: