June is a month of freedom

June marks the first month of the summer season, the period on the calendar when we take vacations from school and work to travel and enjoy the company of our friends and family members. It’s our personal time, that sweet spot each year when we take a break from the humdrum of our daily schedules and we have the freedom to do whatever we want,

But June also uniquely celebrates a number of events that brought true freedom to Americans who had been unable to experience the promise of America — “all men are created equal” — that we take for granted today.

June 12 is known as Loving Day. It was on that day in 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia law that forbade interracial marriage and made it a criminal offense to do so. The Lovings, an interracial couple, were convicted under that Virginia law and, to avoid jail, they agreed to leave the state. Similar laws existed throughout all of the Southern states until the Supreme Court’s ruling.

June is observed as Pride Month by the LGBTQIA+ community to mark the date of June 28, 1969, when gays protested arrests at the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village) at a time when police routinely arrested of gay men on phony morals charges. The riots lasted for a number of days and are widely-recognized as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement that culminated more than 50 years later with the Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that struck down state laws forbidding same-sex marriage.

June 14 is Flag Day, marking the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress, which read as follows: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day and in 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Ever since its inception in 1777, the American flag has been universally recognized as a symbol of freedom around the world.

Finally, Juneteenth, which is now a national holiday, marks the day when the Union army entered the city of Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and freed the slaves in Texas pursuant to President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had gone into effect more than two years earlier on January 1, 1863. Texas had been the last state to be occupied by Union forces and where slavery still existed.

Near the water?Watch your children!

We recently were shocked to learn of two statistics that were noted at a recent meeting of the Revere Board of Health. 

The first is that about 4500 Americans die from drowning each year. To put that into perspective, that figure is about 50 percent greater than the total number of victims who died on 9/11. 

The second number, which was even more surprising — and even sadder — is that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1-4.

What is stunning to us about that statistic is that we cannot imagine that whenever a parent is with a small child near the water — whether it be the bathtub in their home or at the beach — the parent is not watching over their child like a hawk without even a second’s worth of distraction, including texting on a cell phone.

Young children are especially susceptible to drowning because of their small lung capacity, which means that once they slip under, their tiny lungs can fill with water almost instantly. 

Even if a child is saved from death by drowning, the lack of oxygen to the brain can result in a serious brain injury that will have lifelong implications.

The bottom line is that a young child never should be left unattended for even a moment when near the water. And it goes without saying that every parent should be 100% sober whenever they are near water with their child, whether on a boat, at the beach, at a pool, or in their home.

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