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This week's installment of Sunday Coffee - 

It is rather odd to celebrate two holidays with different backgrounds coniciding on the same day, but such was the case on June 19 - Father's Day and Juneteenth. 

Of the two, Father's Day is more well known having been celebrated in the US since around 1910 and first celebrated in Spokane, WA.  It is observed in over 100 countries and is a recognized holiday in a few countries.  The date normally is set for the third weekend in June.  It is meant to honor fatherhood and a compliment to Mother's Day. 

Juneteenth's beginnings reach back to 1865 not long after the end of the Civil War.  It comemorates the date of June 19th, 1865 when Union general Gordon Granger read a proclamation to the enslaved peoples in Galveston that they were now free.  Celebrations began the next year in 1866 and slowly spread to other states primarily in the South.  Beginning in the 1960's, Juneteenth began to be celebrated in several location outside of Texas and became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980.  In 2021, Juneteenth became a recognized federal holiday.

To be honest, I was not aware of Juneteenth until I began teaching back in 2008.  As a student of history, I became more and more interested in the history and development of Juneteenth. But once I moved to Brady, where it was actually commemorated, I became a supporter of celebrating the event along with gaining a better understanding of it's importance to the local African American community. 

Bringing this to the present, Brady celebrated both occasions - one at Richards Park (Smoke on the Hill) and the other at Willie Washington Park this past weekend.  Yes, I am also well aware of the significance each park played in Brady's past but I would certainly hope our community has moved forward since those times.

With all that is going on in our world these days, I feel it is very important to celebrate all fathers and grandfathers who have worked hard to provide for their families.  Just as important is truly understanding the concept of freedom. 

Historically, not all in our society have had real freedom until the last 60-70 years.  This is one aspect of our human condition that is hard for me to grasp where different peoples were treated differently mainly due to race or skin color.  Can we not be "the better angels of our nature?" (Quote made once by then President Abraham Lincoln)

I certainly enjoyed attending the events right here in good ol' Brady, USA!  This community still amazes me and I feel blessed to be here.  It is my hope that everyone in Brady had a great weekend. 

Just remember, without strong fathers, we cannot have true freedom!

Ed. Note - The views expressed here are those of James Griffin who is solely responsible for the content presented.