Freedom – Reason to be Thankful at Thanksgiving and Always

November 22nd, 2014   •   Comments Off on Freedom – Reason to be Thankful at Thanksgiving and Always   

American flag


Our freedom is the basis, the foundation, of all the things for which we are thankful at Thanksgiving:

  • Free speech

  • Freedom of the press

  • Religious freedom

  • Freedom to petition our government

  • Freedom of assembly

Recently (and again today, as I write this), I watched in disbelief the story of Livan and Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, the baseball greats who escaped from Cuba, a country with NO freedom. The story, Brothers in Exile, is a documentary about life with no freedom, and the risks that human beings are willing to take in the search for freedom. It tells (and shows) of the living conditions in a country with no freedom, of the lack of MEAT and MILK–and even toilet paper. Orlando’s wife says of the parade through New York City after the Yankees’ World Series win,

“[The spectators] were throwing toilet paper, and we’d say, `My gosh…and in Cuba there’s no toilet paper.’ They were throwing it from the buildings, and I was saying, `How can this be?'”


Thankful for Toiletries

Imagine, no meat, no milk, no toiletries. How often do we pause to be thankful for the toiletries we use so freely? Livan tells the story that in 1995, in an effort to provide for his family, he had amassed two suitcases full of soap and shampoo samples provided by the hotels where he and his teammates stayed during their international travels,  only to be told by the Cuban security contingent that traveled with them that if any “inappropriate” items were found in their luggage they would be banned from traveling with the team. THAT was the turning point for him. He vowed that the next trip out of Cuba would be his last. He said of his escape,

“I knew my goodbyes would be my last…I couldn’t even tell my mother.”

He was only 20 years old, and he reports that he “cried all the way” out of the only life he knew. But he added,

“But I was free, and that was the most important thing.”

After Livan’s escape, El Duque, who remained in Cuba, was harassed by the Cuban police, and because of their suspicions about his possible plans to also escape, they ultimately banned him from Cuban baseball for life. His eventual escape was a harrowing trip that ultimately left him and his seven fellow travelers stranded in an uninhabited island for several days, until the US Coast Guard found them and took them to the Bahamas, where they would be returned to Cuba were it not for the intervention of a Cuban-American sports agent.

One study shows that from 1959 to 1994 16,000 Cubans died at sea trying to escape–that’s an average of almost 500 people per year.

 What kind of misery, what kind of oppression, leads people to risk the treacherous 90 miles to freedom on a makeshift, ill-equipped boat or even a raft?

For the full documentary go to: I encourage you to watch it–preferably before Thanksgiving.


Thanking Our Best:

The Men and Women Who Actively Serve and Those Who Have Served

Freedom, as they say, IS NOT FREE. Some pay/have paid the ultimate price, while others pay the price of living the horrors of war, of being away from loved ones while their loved ones manage without them. When we bow our heads in thanksgiving, let’s remember them all–those who have served, those who serve, and the families that wait and pray for them. It is their work, their effort, their sacrifice, that protects us/our country from the many ills found in every corner of the world.


Proud to be an American

As we pause to thank our veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families this Thanksgiving I think of Lee Greenwood’s words in Proud to be an American:

                 …And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

…We may not be perfect, but WE’RE FREE.

The lyric always reminds me of a plaque we bought when our sons were young. It was a simple, hand-painted sign with an important message:

“We may not have it all together,

but together we have it all.”

That speaks of America too.


So as we gather ’round our table

Alonso Log Cabin Thanksgiving Table


we’ll be thankful for your FREEDOM, and our FREEDOM.

We are grateful to have the freedom to own a business, to work with and for great people and companies who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do for their companies, their employees, and their customers. Thank you.


Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.



About the Author

Zuni Corkerton, President, RefCheck

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with  in-depth–not generic–background-screening services.  She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option.  She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

RefCheck® is not a vendor; we’re your partner.


Notice:  Nothing is the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.