Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18a (KJV)
The weekend cold front had ushered in some gusting winds which were now whipping our American flag around its staff where I had just posted it on our home. As I returned from my usual mission to retrieve the morning newspaper I stopped to gently untangle it from its temporary imprisonment. In gratitude, it seemed, our flag billowed majestically, with the stars and stripes waving over the rest of my journey back into the house.
My thoughts drifted to the words of a dear friend recounting her trip to Washington, D.C., and the day she stood in a gentle rain before the memorial remembering the 58,209 who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. The rain drops mixed with her tears as others cascaded over the names etched on the granite walls of that solemn memorial.
My thoughts returned to a remembrance of our own tears years earlier during our visit to the Vietnam War Memorial, as Lynda and I found the name of a high school classmate etched upon that sacred wall. I remembered also the sense of pride we felt as later we listened to the curator in the National Archives point out the fingerprint which could be seen on the Declaration of Independence, no doubt placed there as a valiant patriot leaned down to fervently pen his name, knowing that by signing that noble document he was putting his life and all he held dear on the line for the freedom and ideals we cherish and enjoy today.
And as we pause this week around Veteran’s Day to honor those who have stood in the gap for us and for this great land across the ages—and still do to this very day—we pause to remember the sacrifice they made so that we and others might continue to live in the warm breezes of liberty, justice and freedom. This great experiment of God, America, was discovered and founded upon a firm reliance on God, and maintained upon the sacrificial lives of countless numbers of heroes through the ages, and has and must continue to stand as a beacon of His hope for all the world. A Country founded upon the belief that in the commonality of our lives under God, whether in suffering or good fortune, we are called to be a lighthouse for each other and the world, to make sure that no one is in need or alone, and that no one lives in fear or for want of freedom.
Yet I wonder sometimes if we get it.
I wonder if our vision for tomorrow remembers the past.
I wonder if we get it when we hear the vitriolic self-serving destructive and partisan rhetoric clearly outside the bounds of civility, and designed only to ensure keeping a position of political power rather than ensuring the security of a Nation and its people. I wonder if it was just a dream years ago when we watched members of Congress—Republicans, Democrats and all shades in between—gathered hand in hand on the steps of our Nation’s Capital in one voice singing “God Bless America.”
I wonder if we get it as I see fewer flags flying in our neighborhoods on occasions such as this. On days like today, I wonder if we realize that those who have stood in the gap for us often came back to us broken, scarred, spit upon, on stretchers and wheelchairs and many in boxes, as they paid the ultimate price, so that we might think, speak and act as we do today.
I wonder if some of us would change our behaviors if we stopped to reflect on those who had gone before, and the last full measure of devotion they willingly gave—and continue to give today—for you and for me? I wonder if it would make a difference in how we lived our lives, treated our neighbor, served our country and world, if we remembered how they lived—and died—for us? I wonder if we are worthy of what they have done for us?
Call me naïve, perhaps way too idealistic, but I dream of a country, a world, where all people are free from government or other oppressive intrusion in any form and, instead, where children “of all ages” everywhere have the opportunity to use their own God-given potential to the find hope for their future intended for their lives in the break of each new dawn. Where the sorrows and joys of our neighbors are embraced willingly in the hearts of us all. Wouldn’t it be nice to see us standing, side by side and hand in hand, honoring the memory of those who have gone before, and in one voice reaffirming the solemn words of our forefathers…
“…with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Just something for us to think about—and not take for granted—during this Veteran’s Day week, and during every day throughout the year, for as long as our liberty and freedom prevails.
It’s really up to us how long it will prevail, but it has always been up to us and will be for all of our days to come. I wonder if we understand that.
I believe in our better moments we do. We must continue to prove ourselves worthy of the heritage we enjoy, paid for at a great price by those who have gone before.
I believe we will.
Our future will depend upon it.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.