Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy 119th Birthday Rebecca Lanier

I try to recognize when I wake up in the morning each day is a gift, especially when I feel like I could use a few more winks of sleep. On Tuesday, March 22, 2011, Mrs. Rebecca Lanier of Ohio received her 119th gift. She is the oldest living person in the U.S.

Mrs. Lanier was born in 1892, her parents slaves in Mississippi. Learning what her eyes have seen and ears have heard in her 119 years would be better than reading a history textbook. I'd love to sit and have a conversation with Mrs. Lanier, and be in the presence of her wisdom.

Mrs. Rebecca Lanier celebrates her 119th birthday

According to the story, the U.S. government recognizes her age as 119, but she has no birth certificate. At the time she was born, they weren't issued to blacks. Without a birth certificate, Guinness World Records won't recognize her as the oldest living person in the U.S.

My thoughts? So what. When I think of Guinness World Records, I don't think of true historical significance, or living history. I think of someone who broke the record for having the most tattoos.

Ms. Lanier is living history. The oral history she can share should be recorded and documented. In our society we put too much emphasis on the next best thing or technological progression. But, it is the wisdom of our elders, which can truly help to preserve what's good in us and society, and even give a clearer picture of how to proceed.

I wonder if Ms. Lanier thought she'd ever live this long. Would I want to live until 119? Well, that's really not up to me. But, she sure makes 119 look good.

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