To the Editor,
On Oct. 26, 1799, Franklin was founded as a city by Abram Maury, who likely never dreamed of the events that would shape the town and its citizens. For over two hundred years, Franklin has had a rich history of coming together after tragedies and loss to support each other and grow stronger throughout the process.
This practice is alive and well even today.
Oct. 17, 2019, became a day that memorialized who we are as a community and how we are moving forward in reconciliation. Whereas others have chosen to erase history, we have opted to add to it and give it context. As pastor Chris Williamson said, “Franklin will be known as the birthplace of the ‘Fuller Story.’”
Our history is now chronicled more completely with the placement of markers that tell of reconstruction, the United States Colored Troops Soldiers, the Franklin Riot of 1867, the Battle of Franklin, and the Market House, where humans were once sold on our square. The speeches on Thursday were truly inspirational, but the real take-away was the unified response of our community declaring Franklin as a place for everyone.
Similarly, on Saturday, a diverse group of people representing all faiths came together to meet, understand and celebrate a deep-rooted love and unity across our community. People sat across from each other, exchanged contact information and, at times, held hands and sang. Bishop Tom Callister reminded us that we should not be holding up a mirror, which puts the focus on ourselves, but, rather, we should be looking through a window so that we may clearly see the needs of others.
Rabbi Laurie Rice told the story of Paradise, where everyone looked to the needs of others and the failure that follows when we don’t. Through her story-telling, we were all reminded by and unified in the reality that we are all in the same boat. This message continues to resonate in my mind.
The event concluded with a message from the Rev. Eric Charles Manning, senior pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He spoke of how we are all created in the image of God and the importance of loving him so we can truly love each other and experience real unity. The morning ended with neighbors holding the hands of neighbors and a commitment to stay rooted in love as a unified community.
These events may become foggy in our memories, but I believe one thing is certain: Franklin is a compassionate community that cares about and for each other. It is obvious in our actions this week.
Matthew 5:23-24 sums it up when it says we should resolve issues with our brothers before we come to the altar. How fitting to have had these two sequential events this past week.
We truly live in Paradise. I now know, clearly, how our community responds. And I couldn’t be more proud of Franklin because of it.
Dr. Ken Moore
Mayor of Franklin