In a quiet corner of the library at Lake Havasu High School, there stands a large gleaming suit of armor. The knight never leaves its post as it stands guard over teenagers who go about the business of being students in the tranquil environment.
As of Wednesday, the knight took on a second task. It also now serves as a sentry for the library’s Freedom Shrine. The shrine is a historic American document collection artfully arranged and mounted on a wall in the school’s library. The display is a gift to the school from members of the London Bridge Rotary Club.
In making the presentation to the school, Rotarian Don Klostermeier said the framed collection represents “32 of the best documents we have in the United States,” he said. “They all represent events and struggles in our nation’s history.”
The Freedom Shrine has copies of historically significant American documents that date from 1620 with the Mayflower Compact. As expected, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are prominently displayed, along with the Bill of Rights. WWII instruments of surrender are included, as well as F.D.R.’s Four Freedoms speech and J.F.K.’s “Ask Not…” speech. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is there, too.
School district and city officials were on hand for the dedication as well as several Rotary Club members – about three dozen people in all. As people mingled before the ceremony, several guests were overhead saying that they hoped students would enjoy examining the documents and learn from them. It was thought that perhaps the documents would shine a bright light on how Americans gained rights and liberties and how important it is to safeguard those precious freedoms.
In his opening remarks, the school’s Principal Scott Becker explained to guests that thoughtful placement of the Rotarians’ gift was a priority. School officials wanted to ensure that students had the best opportunity to closely inspect – and reflect upon -- the documents’ contents.
“We didn’t want to put the Freedom Shrine in a hallway,” Becker said. “It’s way too busy and students couldn’t get a really good look at the documents. That’s why we put the shrine in the library.”
Upon hearing Becker’s location explanation, perhaps the gleaming knight in the corner would have nodded in approval – if only he could.