Freedom is the most basic of all human rights, and yet throughout history many individuals and nations have had to struggle to be free. For this reason, the first ten Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added to the American Constitution to guarantee basic freedoms for our new nation's citizens.
The Bill of Rights was a tremendous milestone in the pursuit of freedom for all, and yet when our nation was founded, not all Americans were allowed to be free. Slavery is the ultimate loss of freedom, and it was nearly another 100 years before Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. National Freedom Day commemorates this momentous occasion on February 1, 1865.
The first article of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights states the most important starting point for all human rights - "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Much progress has been made in helping to win freedom for all, throughout the world. But even though international law forbids slavery, it still exists in many parts of the world, where women and young girls and boys are trafficked as prostitutes. And even though all nations agreed to uphold basic human rights for their citizens, many people are not allowed these basic liberties. Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate the victories for freedom that have been won and to re-dedicate our commitment to work for freedom for all.
World Freedom Day is observed on November 9 to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, freeing the people of East Berlin and uniting the German nation. July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day commemorating when the American colonies won their freedom from Great Britain. Most nations were under the rule of another nation at some time in their history, so it isn't surprising that most nations also celebrate the anniversary of the date when they won their freedom.