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Democracy, a precious gift

Twenty years ago a lone image captivated the world: a young Chinese protestor holding shopping bags staring down a column of military tanks.

It was part of the student-led pro-Democracy protests in and around Tiananmen Square, an event that shook a generation and became one of the bloodiest crackdowns of military force in recent history.

While Beijing has never allowed independent investigation into the crushing of the protests that occurred in 1989, some reports say hundreds, possibly even thousands of citizens were killed. All in the name of Democracy.

How far have we come in 20 years?

Look no further than North Korea, a neighboring country to China where a dictatorial regime keeps its people in poverty and isolated from the outside world, limiting their access to food, supplies and information. Freedom and democracy are far from their minds.

In the Middle East, the Taliban and terrorists have turned everyday lives into survival missions. In Taliban-controlled countries and areas, women are not allowed even the most basic rights in society. To seek an education is to risk death for many of them. In war-torn Afghanistan, children live in fear for their lives.

In Darfur, genocide is wiping out hundreds of thousands of people each year.

In Iran, where extremists still control the government and the society, Democracy will never be allowed to flourish.

The protestors in Tiananmen Square recognized the true worth of Democracy – and they were willing to give their lives in the quest for that freedom.

Here, in America, we have been blessed with our Democracy and our freedom for nearly 233 years now. Perhaps we need to be reminded how precious a gift it is.