Tomorrow, November 9th, is “World Freedom Day,” an international commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Evil Empire — a commemoration that I, personally, had a hand in establishing. From 1995 to 2001, I produced a nationally syndicated newspaper and radio commentary called “Behind The Headlines,” promoting free enterprise and limited government. It was the best job I ever had: propagating ideas that are manifestly true, though widely rejected. One of the ideas I propagated, year after year, was “World Freedom Day,” the brainchild of Hoover Institute scholar Arnold Beichman. Every November 9th, this commentary was republished in newspapers and rebroadcast on radio stations throughout the nation, reminding millions of Americans how lucky we are to live in a free country, and how many people throughout the world are not so fortunate.
I lost that job shortly after 9-11 when financial difficulties forced my sponsor to discontinue the program. On Monday, November 5, 2001, I noted with sadness that the annual dissemination of my “World Freedom Day” commentary would not occur that year. Then I had a brilliant idea: I would email President Bush and request that he issue a World Freedom Day proclamation.
It was short notice, of course: November 9th was only five days away. And the president, I had no doubt, must receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails daily. So, I knew it was a crazy idea and that it was completely unreasonable for me to think that the President would actually read, much less act on, my request. But, what the heck, there’s no harm in asking, right? And it wasn’t like it took a great effort on my part to write the email explaining the concept and how it tied in to 9-11 (even the date, 11-9, is a mirror image). After all, I was unemployed and had nothing better to do, anyway.
To my amazement, on the morning of November 9th, there it was: President Bush’s proclamation of World Freedom Day! I was stunned.
About a month later, the mailman came to the door with a gigantic flat package — from the White House! The only person more curious about the contents than him was me. Inside were five official copies of the World Freedom Day proclamation! One of which is framed and proudly displayed on my living room wall to this day.
So, tomorrow, I will do what I do every November 9th: Celebrate World Freedom Day — and thank God that, when it really counted, we had a President who understood the value of freedom and did what he could to preserve it for us and to extend it to others.