The members of the Clay County African American Legacy Inc. are hosting its 5th Annual “Freedom Tree and Candle Lighting Ceremony” at Garrison School Cultural Center on Friday, December 12th at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend. This ceremony is in remembrance of the ratification and passage of the first of the three Reconstruction Era Amendments, the 13th Amendment. It was on December 6, 1865 that the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States was ratified; the amendment was passed on January 31, of the same year. All three Amendments, the 13th, 14th, and 15th were added to the U. S. Constitution to protect the rights of newly freed African Americans.
As our nation struggles with the recent tragedies of Ferguson MO, Cleveland Ohio, and New York City, where citizens lost their lives as a result of police intervention, the 14th Amendment is especially significant at this time; it ensures that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are given full and equal protection of the law.
The Garrison Freedom Tree and Candle Lighting ceremony will allow Liberty and Clay County residents, community leaders, and law enforcement officers, the opportunity to join together in a spirit of trust, respect, and harmony in race relations as we celebrate the Christmas season. The tree for the ceremony is a 7 ft. White Pine donated to Garrison by Myron Schmitt of Holt, Missouri. Mr. Schmitt presented former President Bill Clinton and the First Family a tree from his Santa Tree farm in 1994. There will be a reception immediately following the tree lighting and viewing of the movie, The Polar Express, a modern Christmas classic film for the entire family.