Nelson Mandela Dies at Age 95: We Will Remember His Legacy

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In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country's apartheid system. In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. In 2009, Mandela's birthday (July 18) was declared Mandela Day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy.

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Twenty-seven years in prison for wanting equality. Twenty- seven years of your life given for the betterment of all, not just you. Just think about that for a moment. I would like to believe that I am capable of that kind of strength of conviction. I know that I'm not and I think that most of us would fall into the "not" category. Mr. Mandela's life has given us so many things to admire, but there is one thing in particular that stands out as such an important lesson to our children. Courage. Not the type of courage that leads one to behave foolishly or recklessly, but the type of courage that requires you to stand in the face of opposition to achieve what is right. The type of courage that it might require a child to face a bully in order to protect his friend. The type of courage that he might need to refuse to allow a classmate or friend to cheat on a test; or to do it themselves when knowing that they are facing a failing grade because of their lack of preparation. The type of courage that it would take to not go along with the crowd just to be one of the cool kids. Courage that grows into an adult who refuses to compromise his morals to save his job. Courage that will not seek a higher paycheck on the backs of others. Courage that cares for mankind and loves his brother or sister deeply.

These days there seems to be no glory in standing up for what's right for the masses. It's all about "me" and the "we" has fallen by the wayside. Maybe we should look no further than this man, Mr. Mandela, who had the courage to change a nation. A man who achieved greatness by setting aside the "me" and reaching out to the "we". Persecution, oppression, incarceration be damned. He had the courage to press on, standing strong in his convictions.

No, I don't want to let go, but, what an amazing legacy to leave to this world and particularly to our children. There's so much more that I want to say but, this is a blog not an essay or a book. So I will just say thank you, Mr. Mandela and God bless you.

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