After 23 years in prison for a wrongful conviction, Ricky Kidd celebrates Christmas as a free man

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time in 23 years, Ricky Kidd celebrated Christmas at home with his family instead of the visitor's room at a prison.

"I hosted Christmas Eve in my apartment and it felt good," he said.

Kidd was freed from prison in September after spending 23 years behind bars for a 1996 homicide that he did not commit.

"I would get Christmas cards that would come in the mail I would take them to my wall. Guys knew how to make stuff out of toilet paper and color it with little wreaths and all of that and you tape it to your wall. I always participated."

While trying to make the best of it, Christmas passed year after year, cheating Kidd of experiences that now would be cherished memories.

"I'm celebrating with my grand kids as opposed to my kids, so I missed all of those years."

Those losses are some of the things Kidd struggles with now that he is a free man.

"I just kept hearing it again. 'Ricky you really are resilient. You really are resilient,' and I begin to wear it literally I am resilience."

It has become his theme.

"At first I thought I was telling my story but really I'm telling our story because we've all overcome something. Mine was wrongful conviction. It can be alcoholism. It can be any form of addiction. It could be stress, depression. We're all battling and dealing with some type of struggle or challenge at some point."

Kidd will begin the new year crisscrossing the country on a speaking tour spreading his message of resilience as well as doing advocacy work for innocent people still behind bars.

But for today, he is with his family, making memories that he should already have, and appreciating this holiday more than most.

"The gifts really aren't under the tree, they're inside of each other. They're inside of us, so that's what I would say."

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