ceeded through hard work and ingenuity. It was this country that gave him that opportunity, regardless of cultural and language barriers and his commitment to a religion that was oppressed in his native land. And that story is far from unique in our country. I am proud to be an American because our exceptional country has always been generous with its freedom -a shining City upon a hill that is a beacon to all freedom-loving peoples; and we have, at our best, endeavored to share and expand freedom to all the corners of the world, not to hoard it as our possession.
Judge Patricia J. Kerrigan: Discusses Freedom and Why She's a Proud American with Aubrey AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What does freedom mean to you? JUDGE PATRICIA J. KERRIGAN: Freedom means our constitutionally protected right as Americans to choose how we work, live, worship, speak, provide for and protect our families. While true freedom is beyond what a government provides, the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans are a fundamental part of our Democracy. Just as important as our enjoyment and exercise of these rights is the responsibility each one of us bears to protect and save our freedoms for the next generation. Everyday as we look at world events, we are graphically shown how precious our freedoms truly are. Every time I seat a jury in the 190th District Court, I remind the jury members that around the world people are literally dying for the right they are exercising, that is the right to have a dispute decided by fellow citizens, rather than by a government or by the military. All of our freedoms are important in today's world and so must be our commitment to preserve them. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Why are you proud to be an American? JUDGE PATRICIA J. KERRIGAN: I'm proud to be an American because as a people we continue to believe in our Constitution, live by our Constitution, and require our government to follow our Constitution. As Judge of the 190th District Court, my appreciation for and understanding of the importance of our Constitution is enhanced everyday as I participate in our civil justice system. As Thomas Jefferson said "I consider the trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government is held to the principles of its constitution." Our civil justice system is a remarkable system of which every American citizen can be proud. Is it perfect? Is America perfect? No, not yet. And the fact that we continue to strive for and demand improvement is part of what makes me proud to be an American.
Judge Dan Hinde Discusses Freedom and Why He's a Proud American with Aubrey AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What does freedom mean to you? JUDGE DAN HINDE: Freedom means opportunity—the opportunity to succeed, to chase your dreams, to find your calling and answer it, to live, to learn, and to grow, unencumbered by the shackles of class. It means we have the opportunity to rise to any height—President, Governor, CEO, star athlete, celebrity, community leader—regardless of your starting point in life. But freedom also means the opportunity to err and to fall short. Essentially, freedom gives us the opportunity to be Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”—to strive valiantly, to do great deeds, and, yes, to fail. But to borrow again from Roosevelt, freedom means that we have the opportunity to fail while daring greatly, that we are not consigned forever to the fate of those “cold and timid souls” who know neither success nor failure. But as is often said, freedom is not free. We enjoy such great opportunity because of the hard work, dedication, blood, and sacrifice of so many men and women who preceded us, giving, as Lincoln said, the last full measure of devotion, so that we—their heirs—might enjoy the freedom they earned. In turn, we owe it our children to pass on this freedom so that they may enjoy the opportunity to dare greatly and reach for their dreams as well. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Why are you proud to be an American? JUDGE DAN HINDE: No country, no nation in history was ever founded on an idea—not Athens, Rome, nor Egypt; not England, France, Germany, Russia, nor China. No nation was built on an idea, that is, until the United States declared its independence in 1776. And what an idea it was! All men are created equal and endowed by God with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My pride in America begins with that great conception of our nation, but it does not end there. The Framers wrote a Constitution to establish a national government designed to protect our freedom and liberty. Then, our nation fought a terrible civil war to preserve that then-radical form of government—government of the people, by the people, for the people—and to cleans it of the horrible stain of slavery. But in the rebirth that President Lincoln described, our freedom and democratic manner of government nourished and nurtured a society that has advanced not only its own population but all of humankind beyond belief. Our society developed an economy that has lifted millions out of poverty, hunger, and illiteracy, not only at home but abroad. Our country led the effort to vanquish the twin scourges of fascism and communism, giving the lie to the totalitarians’ pretensions to utopia. The United States remains a shining beacon to the world—a safe harbor in times of difficulty and a light to guide the world. Our nation always—always—sends aid to countries suffering natural disasters, whether friend or foe. Our people generate new ideas in technology, industry, the arts, and music. We are what other coun29
Our ONE AMERICA "Leaders Celebrating Freedom Together" series is currently underway inside Houston Business Connections Magazine, published...