Freedom and a “Shot@Life”

The United States Capital located in Washington DC has housed Congress since 1800.

As the week draws to a close, my mind rests on DC and what I learned about the tragic lack in provision of a simple basic human right:  The right to live.  Life-saving vaccinations are readily available in the United States and other wealthy countries around the world.  However, some of the world’s poorest nations do not have access to these simple, basic vaccines that could save a child’s life.  A life that is part of the mass of children who are dying every 20 seconds from vaccine-preventable diseases.

I found myself thinking hard about this stark reality and my heart sank every time I spent money.  The forty dollar cab fare back from the airport to my home could have saved two lives.  The eighty dollars of groceries could have saved four.  All the expenditures of the week for food, gas, bills and unnecessary things, could have saved at least a dozen if not more, lives.  No matter how hard I tried to forget those facts (that a mere twenty dollars could save a single life of a child by providing the four major vaccinations), I could not stop berating myself for how ridiculous our daily lives in the western world seem.

As I was reflecting on the week today, I realized how ironic it was that we spent our last couple of hours during the UN Foundation Shot@Life Summit doing a tour of the US Capital.  For the US Capital Building was built entirely on the concept of freedom.   As we traveled through the world’s most recognized symbol of a democratic government, I couldn’t help but feel that as a promotor of freedom it is our duty as Americans to help give other children less fortunate than ourselves a Shot@Life.   It is my intention to help make this happen and I am proud to be a part of this movement!

Symbols of Freedom

The plaster model for the Statue of Freedom which stands proudly in Emancipation Hall. The original Statue of Freedom sits atop the Capital Dome.

The bust of the emancipated slave and inspirational speaker for abolition and women’s rights, Sojourner Truth.  

The bust of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish Diplomat who helped save tens of thousands of lives of the Jews during the Nazi occupation in WWII. 

Plaque locating Abraham Lincoln’s desk site in the US Capital Building.  I was humbled by this one. 

Inside the Rotunda, approximately 180 feet above where I was standing is “The Apotheosis of Washington, painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865.  This impressive masterpiece shows George Washington surrounded by symbols of American democracy and technological progress.  

An up close look at Brumidi’s (an Italian-American artist) masterpiece.  Wow.   

Brumidi’s last piece of work, the frieze that rings the Rotunda and depicts the significant events of American history and democracy, was painted to look like marble statues.  Brumidi died before the work was completed thus other artists finished the last few feet.

Before we left the US Capital tour, we had to take a photo wearing our “Shot@Life” shirts!  I thought the mottos across the front of the shirts were quite fitting!

Me on the left along with two other Shot@Life Champions, Kyla P’an and Lori Harding. 

The back of the shirts.

I read today an article about the power of online giving that tremendously inspired me.  A young Minnesotan college student, who is living in Kenya, witnessed the unthinkable.  A man trying to attack the orphanage that his non-profit created.  A young twenty-four-year-old Kenyan worker heroically took a machete to his face while trying to save the children.  The Minnesotan used online social media and was able to raise over $80,000 in 24 hours to help improve security for the orphanage!  Wow!  It just goes to demonstrate then power of a voice!  (To read the article, please click on: Grisly tale shows power of online giving).

Stay tuned…More New Zealand coming up soon!


  1. Wow, Nicole, I know how you feel. When you really see the suffering of the rest of the world and the injustices our fellow human being suffer, it’s hard to accept some of the waste we in the developed world tolerate. This is a wonderful program you are participating in, my friend. Great post!

  2. We sponsor a child in India, who is almost grown up now and another in Africa. I wish more people would do this. It doesn’t cost much and I would like to think it does some good.

    • That is wonderful! I also do KIVA, a micro lending NGO and have helped women in impoverished countries start or continue small businesses. It is a great organization.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Road Trip « Tami Clayton

    • Thank you so much for helping to spread the word about Shot@Life! I greatly appreciate it! That is my hope….to reach out across the blogosphere and get people like you to help pass along the importance of giving back! Thanks again!

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