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Beatrice D. Schemer, September 11, 2010

As I look back, two-pivotal phrases stand out as major influences in my life: "To love and be loved" and "People cannot live in chains."

As a teenager and young adult, I remember thinking to myself, "I just want to love and be loved," probably after I'd seen one of those tear-jerker films of the forties and fifties like "Now Vogager" with Bette Davis and Paul Henried or "An affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Decades, later, it
turns out, I still believe that to love and be loved in ts the primary ingredient of a healthy and fulfilling life.

When I was very young, World War II was raging and it looked like all of Europe would be overrun by Nazi Germany. In the U.S. daily newspapers printed maps showing this relentless drive. Churchill's "Gathering Storm" was thundering across the European Continent. I remember asking my father what would happen if Hitler won the war. My father's response was: "Men cannot live in chains." As a leader of his Jewish congregation in Bavaria in the 1930's, he knew human beings must be free. He knew also that he needed to take his family far away from Europe to escape what would later be known as the Holocost.

In 1941, the year the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, reminded the world that the US Constitution guarantees a Bill of Rights to every American: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. Almost seventy years later, in a changing world, we are challenged to live and let live by these basic principles. Now in my seventies, I feel the need to preserve the freedom that is our way of life more keenly that ever before.

In this my seventy-seventh year, I still want to love and be loved, and I am more convinced than ever that humankind cannot survive in chains. I have learned that there is a strong link between education and freedom. It starts in thee sandbox and continues throughout life.

*NOTE* -The ages on the stars represent the ages at the time this project started in 2009.


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