Thanksgiving Break was great! My family and I spent much of it in the Smoky Mountains near Blue Ridge, GA. Besides over-eating and generally relaxing, we also spent a day hiking and it was beautiful! On the way back, we stopped at the Tennessee Aquarium and my kids loved it. Two huge buildings dedicated just to an aquarium meant that our 2.5 hours there was hardly enough. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with kids.
Perhaps the most memorable event during my vacation happened on the drive from Memphis. As I passed through the town of Tuscumbia, I noticed a sign announcing that this little city was the birthplace of Helen Keller. Had to stop. After hearing Helen Keller’s story all growing up, it was amazing to see it all materialize. There it was. Her playroom. The room she locked Anne Sullivan in. Most importantly, the pump where Helen first learned that each object has a name. Then, off to one side of the property sat a booth that caught my eye.
The booth was filled with Lions Club International banners from all over the world. As I paused there, I learned that in 1925, Helen Keller gave a speech at the Lions Club International Convention and this is the challenge she gave: “Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?”
- Helen Keller, June 30, 1925
As a result of that speech, Lions Club chose to make vision a priority in their quest to serve humanity. As I read and listened, her speech both humbled and emboldened me. It made me proud to be a Lions Club member. To be part of an organization so dedicated to helped bring sight to those in need. Moreover, it made me proud to be a future optometrist. One of some 35,000 optometrists trained and willing to end blindness in any way we can. I chose the right profession. I will be a Knight to the Blind.