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SEB unveils new Freedom Shrine
051208 FREEDOM SHRINE 1
Southeast Bulloch High School students peruse the newly unveiled Freedom Shrine, displaying copies of important historic documents in United States History. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    Southeast Bulloch High School unveiled a new Freedom Shrine Monday in the common area of the school. Donated by the Exchange Club of Statesboro, the Freedom Shrine is a permanent installation of historical American documents emphasizing freedom and liberty.
    Army Brigadier General C. Stewart Rodeheaver was the keynote speaker for the dedication ceremony. He spoke about international perceptions of American freedom.
    “As I go across the world and talk to people, I found out that freedom, the way we consider freedom, is just an American word. Other countries and languages all have a word for freedom, but it does not mean the same thing to them as it does to us,” said Rodeheaver.
    “For us, freedom means a whole lot of different things. The documents (in the Freedom Shrine) are important documents,” said Rodeheaver. “As you read through them, you’ll see some of the freedoms guaranteed to you by them – freedom of religion, freedom of speech – all those are great things that our constitution and our forefathers put in place for us.
    “I’ll tell you, the documents are as good as can be, but freedom is in your heart – that’s where it’s built.”
    The Freedom Shrine is an impressive, permanently mounted collection of 26 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of American and the Gettysburg Address, among others.
    Developed by the National Exchange Club, the Freedom Shrine originated from the Freedom Train that toured the nation in 1947 carrying an exhibit of historic documents. The Freedom Shrine puts before young Americans proof that the freedom and greatness we enjoy today were not obtained easily and it reminds them that these gifts must be cherished and protected.
    Jane Hagan, president of the Exchange Club, spoke about Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
    “The Shrine is a constant reminder of the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded,” said Hagan. “It serves its purpose only when attention is directed to it continuously.”
    Performing at the ceremony was the SEB Brass Quartet, which played the “Star Spangled Banner,” and the SEB Chorus, which performed “God Bless America” and “There is no Rose.” In addition, the colors were presented by the SEB JROTC.    
    The Exchange Club is an all-volunteer national service organization for men and women who want to serve their community. The organization primary focuses are Americanism and ending child abuse.
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