Jim Denison on the Trapped Thai Soccer Team and What Freedom Really Means

Twelve boys and their soccer coach went missing in a northern Thailand cave on June 23. The Tham Luang Nang Non cave system is a local tourist attraction but can flood severely during the rainy season. The boys and their coach became stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour.

Divers found them alive Monday evening. The video of their discovery made headlines around the world. But their saga is far from over.

The Wild Boar soccer team and its coach are trapped 1.2 miles into the cave, somewhere between eight hundred meters and one kilometer (0.6 miles) below the surface. They were found huddled together on a small incline, surrounded by water in a pitch-black chamber.

Huge pumps are now running to drain the cave complex so the boys can be rescued. However, Thailand is in the midst of its monsoon season. Heavy rains could make it impossible for the team to hike to safety.

Bringing the team out the way their rescuers went in is especially perilous. Cave diving is dangerous even for experienced divers. The safest option could be to leave the boys in place until water levels drop or a new entrance is discovered. However, if water levels rise too high, they could threaten the boys where they are.

Officials stated this morning that they will not attempt to move the boys before Thursday. They are working to set up phone lines inside the cave so the boys can talk to their parents.

Two weeks ago, the boys and their coach may have taken their freedom for granted. I doubt they will ever do so again.

Thomas Jefferson’s last public letter

The year was 1826, and America’s fiftieth Independence Day was approaching.

Roger Chew Weightman, the mayor of Washington, planned a great celebration. He invited the three surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence–Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Charles Carroll of Maryland–as well as former presidents James Madison and James Monroe.

None could attend, due to health issues and advancing age. However, on June 24, 1826, Jefferson wrote the mayor what became his last public letter. (He wrote two personal notes a day later.) In it, he defined what Independence Day is all about (punctuation and capitalization are his):

“may [the Declaration] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government.”

According to Jefferson, “that form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view. the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred.”

He then offered his Independence Day hope: “let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

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Source: Christian Post