Unsung Heroes of Liberty – Two stories from Lawrence Reed
Mr. Lawrence W. Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education was gracious enough to accept our invitation to speak at our Oct. 15, 2011 meeting of the Fulton Campaign for Liberty. He presented his speech titled "Unsung Heroes of Liberty"
Mr. Reed told two stories of heroes who fought for liberty in defiance of great odds and against two powerful forces. One was the story of Thomas Clarkson (1760 – 1846), an abolitionist who stood up against the British government and people to fight to end the slave trade in England. He also recounted the story of his long-time friend Nicholas Winton who saved the lives of 669 children who would have perished at the hands of the Nazi regime.
While at Cambridge University, Thomas Clarkson wrote an essay condemning the slave trade. He acted upon his research for the essay, and made it his mission to end the trade. He found support along the way, including that of an English Parliamentarian who introduced a bill year after year in Parliament that would end slavery. The bill finally passed after Clarkson gained public support for abolition.
This story has been recreated in the film Amazing Grace.
On the day before Hitler’s troops invaded Czechoslovakia, Nicholas Winton began a successful effort to relocate Jewish children to his native Great Britain. By the time World War II broke out on Sept. 1, 1939, the rescue effort had transported 669 children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
Winton's story is recounted on a website devoted to him. It was also recreated in a film called The Power of Good. In addition, a short documentary was made about students' experiences during the Bratislava History Project that included meeting Sir Nicholas Winton and HM Queen Elizabeth II. Here is a collection of clips from that film.
When asked by one of the students "if you could give one piece of advice for future generations, something you have learned from your life, what would it be," he replied, "don't be content in your life to do no wrong. Be prepared everyday to do some good."
This is a very powerful statement that we should all embrace and live by for the rest of our lives. I know I will.