Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…


“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels,

Remember the former things, those of long ago;

I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like me.” 

Isaiah 46: 8-9


            America—standing at a fork in the road. 

The air was warm and limp outside this morning I as walked out to get the newspaper and to post the American Flag in its place on our home.  The memories of past Independence Days flooded over me. 

The traditions of time with family in the mountains, with cool breezes blowing through the trees; a tradition begun many years ago with Lynda’s Mom and Dad and carried on through the years with Nathan and then his family. Memories of the grill going, of shucking corn on the cob, and waiting for Lynda’s sister’s famous sour cream peach pies, and of playing games, and then in the last few years watching the small town fireworks through the reflections in my Granddaughters’ eyes. 

And on this glorious Independence Day, this Fourth of July, I wonder if America is standing at a fork in the road—a time where we can remember and embrace who we are and where we’ve been the foundations and traditions that have made us who we are as a Nation and people, and that will cause us to move us once again to where we should go as a Nation as we face all of our tomorrows—or not.

There has never been an Independence Day to pass, where I don’t remember the impact which Lynda’s Mom and Dad had on my life, and the lives of the family who gathered around them as together they remembered and celebrated the roots of our their country and family. And there is never an Independence Day that passes where I don’t remember the roots and traditions—not just those of our family—but of our Nation. 

And as I remember today, it is clear that as a as a people and Country—America—we are standing at a fork in the road.

We all remember the words which echo throughout our history as a Nation:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: 

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world…And for support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 (excerpts)


And in the landscape of history, it really wasn’t that long ago—235 years—that Thomas Jefferson, with input from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingstone and Roger Sherman, offered those stirring words contained in the original of that glorious document.  One of our founding documents which are guarded day and night in our National Archives in Washington, D.C., encased in vault that can be lowered well below ground to ensure its safekeeping. 

            One signer’s fingerprint could be seen on that document, permanently etched there when he fervently leaned down over that document to pen his name, knowing full well that he was offering his life.  Knowing that by signing that great document he was putting his life on the line, and he stood to lose all that he had, including his wife and his children—but for the sake of all that he believed in and all that he held dear, especially his wife and children, he signed it.

Five of the signers were captured by the British as traitors, imprisoned and tortured.  Twenty had their homes ransacked and burned.  Nine of the fifty-six signers fought and died from the wounds or the hardships of the War for Independence.  One, a shipper and planter, saw his ships swept from the sea by the British navy, sold his home to pay his debts and died bankrupt.  One was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family constantly and keep hiding, his possessions taken from him and he was reduced to poverty. 

These were not wild ruffians, these were men of means, educated men—but men, women and children with a deep faith in God, who loved liberty more than they valued their own lives.  And because of those beliefs—they offered their very lives for this great Nation. 

They paid the price for us.  They made that first payment for us and for those who will follow us.  And that payment has been kept up-to-date through the sacrificial offerings of the lifeblood of our citizens down throughout the pages of our history.

Yet as a Nation—America—we are standing at a fork in the road.

I wonder if we have gotten away from the things that are important.  I wonder if we have walked away from—or ever even embraced on an individual basis—the things upon which this great Nation was founded.  I wonder if we have walked away from the faith upon which our Nation was founded, and away from the faith, values, roots and traditions upon which our lives, families and institutions were founded. 

We are standing at a point of decision, individually, collectively and as a Nation, where we will, by our choice of roads, demonstrate either that we remember where we came from and embrace again the clear foundations, values and traditions of faith and family upon which our great Nation was established; or that we don’t remember or care, and are content to sacrifice all we were meant to be on any road paved with popularity and things, or self-centered, expedient, popular, comfortable and politically correct ways of life—or whatever else might tempt us away from whom God created us to be.

Roads that embrace the roots of our foundations, or something else.

T.S. Eliot reminds us that…“A culture withers with the growth of secularism, and develops only with a religious framework.”  

America—standing at a fork in the road. 

When he signed the bill, on June 14, 1954, which added the words “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance, President Dwight David Eisenhower shared these words with a grateful Nation:

“From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this rededication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country’s true meaning…

In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”


Oh, but were that the case again today and in the future from the leaders of our Nation.

America—standing at a fork in the road. 

But throughout our history we have always been at one fork in the road or another.  And on the occasion of this Independence Day celebration, we again have a choice as Americans—to take the road that demonstrates we remember who we are, Whose we are, and where we come from, or to take another.  We will have that choice long after the barbeque coals have cooled and turned to ash, the fireworks remain only as a twinkle in our eyes, and the choruses of patriotic songs have faded into the recesses of our heart strings.   

We are standing at a fork in the road, and perhaps it would help with our decisions—as to which road we should take—if we began to sing the fourth verse, as well as the first verse, when we sing our National Anthem—“The Star Spangled Banner”: 

Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

                                    (Emphasis added)

            We not only need to remember those words, but we need to live them, for the sake of those who have gone before, the sake of those to whom we will pass on the torch of liberty, freedom and justice—burning brighter than when it was passed to us, and for the sake of our God upon whom we relied when He and we established this place which we call America.

            America—standing at a fork in the road. 

            The memories always flood over me on Independence Day, as they do each day, when I post our American Flag in its place of honor on our home.  As I sit here reflecting on that and all we are, should be and can be as a Nation, I was reminded recently of the bumper sticker which displays a picture of the American Flag and the words:

“These colors do not run.”

            Throughout the last 235 years of our Nation, men and women, children and youth, have believed and stood for a Nation created under God.  They have lived and thrived through defining moments where they have not run or shirked from whatever they faced individually, as families or as a Nation.  We stand at another defining moment in our history, at another fork in the road—a moment where we can stand and reclaim all we were, should be and can be as a Nation under God—or a moment where we run from it.

The American Flag which I posted this morning is our reminder of all we are and should be as a Nation, and of all the lives who have stood for us and the values and faith in God and Christ upon which this great Nation was founded.  And the colors of that flag—do not run.

What about you?  What about us as a Nation?

America—standing at a fork in the road.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Happy Fourth of July to each of you!


                                                            In His Name—Scott



Copyright 2011.  Scott L. Whitaker.  All rights reserved.