July 4, 2000
JULY 4, 1776 MADE A LASTING VICTORY
POSSIBLE ON MARCH 4, 1789
by Stewart Lilker
The Fourth of July is a special day. On July 4, 1776 a group
of brave men stepped up to the bar and put their life on the line for
something they believed in. If they would have lost their bid for freedom,
they would have been brought back to England and hanged. Without their
victory, there would be no telling where the world would be
As we celebrate their victory this July 4th, we should not
forget March 4, 1789. It is a date of equal importance to our nation and
indeed the world. In these trying days in Freeport, it is of
A lasting victory was won on this date. A victory of
intellect. A rare victory indeed. So rare some historians maintain it has
been accomplished only three times in history: Old Testament Israel, the Golden
Age of Greece, and the era of emergence of the United States of America.
March 4, 1789, is the date the Constitution of the United
States of America became the supreme law of the nation.
FNYN celebrates this Fourth with Adam Gaffney, the
Monument to our Fallen Heroes, and the Diversity of America. All made
possible because our forefathers had the courage to take a stand. Do You?
Adam Gaffney's Valedictorian Speech,
June 25, 2000.
Intellect & The Spirit of Independence.
Four years ago, I walked into the Freeport High School lobby. I never
thought I would be here, speaking to you today.
are we here today? Are we here just to celebrate that we passed the
required courses and that we got enough credits to graduate? I think that
it is something else. Everyone is being recognized for something
different. We have had own accomplishments, experiences, hardships.
Everyone one of us has to go through so much, so many decisions, dilemmas,
and disappointments, to get to this point. And so, we are not just being
congratulated for our diplomas, but for everything we have undergone to
get to this milestone.
It is not just a milestone because it marks the day we become high
school graduates. Itís a milestone because it marks our greater
understanding of the world. A world, that we all realize by now, does not
always make sense.
I guess we got jump started into that conclusion by this past year. We
saw that those in power do not always do what is best. We were told
everything was being changed in the name of reform, but all we saw was the
school deteriorate. New policies were set up that we all knew wouldn't
help the school, that wouldn't make students learn more, that wouldn't
help teachers educate better, and that wouldn't even improve discipline.
The regressive changes might create an image of improvement, but we all
knew that education, which of course is the sole purpose of the school
system, would not improve.
The moral of the story is this. First, images aren't good enough. You
cannot merely have an image of improvement, integrity, or success. Too
much in this world is superficial, too many politicians are shallow, too
many friendships fake, too many ideals pretended, and too many people are
hypocrites, who project images of honesty. There is too much gold plating
- shiny on the outside, but with no true depth.
We easily saw through much of what we were told this year, and we have
to be able to do that for the rest of our lives and keep it real.
This year should also make us aware that we will see much more that
does not make sense in our life. There is poverty, hunger, and ignorance
in the world. Confederate flag wavers and holocaust deniers. Reactionaries
and bigots. Some of us may face exploitation, racism, corruption, greed,
All of us have different goals and different destinations, but we all
have to expect that there will be attempts to drive us backward. You can't
allow any force, whether economic, societal, or personal, to stop you from
becoming what you want to be. We have our whole life ahead of us, but only
one, so excuses don't count. Don't give anything an excuse to stop you
A journalist and abolitionist from the nineteenth century, William
Lloyd Garrison, once exclaimed, "man above all institutions." In
his day, he was referring to slavery. Today, I refer to any institution or
pressure that could stop us from becoming what we want to be, whether it
be bigotry, political or economic incapacity, low expectations, internal
doubt, or a lack of dreams. And so I exclaim, we cannot allow any of these
forces to end our drive for success.
We have our entire lives ahead of us, but life is not that long. The
time has come. We must see through shallowness, in ourselves and our
society. We must give the world a true impression of who we are, not what
it wants us to be.
We must form real friendships and true dreams. We must disregard
pressures that would dissuade us from achieving our goals. We must look
all senselessness in the eye, reject it, and move on.
We must succeed, in spite of any constraints, and accomplish our
I'd like to thank everyone who has made our success possible this far,
our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents,
[I think they deserve a round of applause]. Our friends, our teachers who
make the ideal of education possible, and select administrators who have
stayed true to us. Despite some recent changes, I have had a great
education and experience at Freeport Schools. I'd like to give special
thanks to my mother Aileen and my father Frederick. I love them. My
brother, who is always there for me in the nick of time, my guidance
counselor and friend Lisa Gordon, Mikey L., keep it locked, and all my
great friends and teachers, I wish I could name you all. Thank you for
hearing me today, and congratulations to all of us, the graduating class
The Monument To Our Fallen Heroes
They Kept Freedom Alive.
This past Memorial Day, the monument to our Fallen Heroes
was dedicated. It commemorates those who made the supreme sacrifice so
that we may live in freedom
LOVE & COMMITMENT, Preparing For
The Dream Continues.
diversity of America and the hopes for the future were celebrated last
week with the exchanging of marriage vows between Casey Martes and
Alcaldio Estevez. The bilingual owners of Bravo Video on Guy Lombardo
Avenue look forward to making a life in Freeport. They told FNYN,
"Now we are going to have to make time to be involved." Before
they do, they were off to Orlando to celebrate their honeymoon.