Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
“You need to be there at 5:30 tonight!”
Her words floated through my thoughts again as I walked out into the crisp, clear and cold morning to place our American flag in its holder on the house. My daughter-in-law was adamant.
I had just returned from a trip and had, in all honesty, forgotten that this was the night. The night when my precious Granddaughters, along with the rest of their classmates, were to be a part of a Veteran’s Day celebration at a local church—where the presence of their two Granddaddies—as Veterans—was required.
There has never been a moment that has occurred—when we have stopped as Nation to honor those who have sacrificed so much for us and our great Country—that tears don’t choke in my throat and well up in my eyes, while my chest swells with pride and gratitude. It happened again this past weekend at the half-time celebration at a football game at Liberty University, when all those present stopped to honor those—alive and those who have passed on—who answered the call to duty to serve this great Land. And it will happen again tonight.
It will happen as our Granddaughters, Hannah and Ellie Kate, and their classmates, remember two men, and others, who will be present. And as we pause tonight, and throughout this week, and especially on Veteran’s Day this coming Thursday, we do so to honor those who have stood in the gap for us and this great land across the ages, and to this very day. We will pause to remember the sacrifice they made, and continue to make, so that we and others might continue to live in the warm embrace of liberty, justice and freedom.
This great experiment of God—America—was discovered and founded upon a firm reliance on God, and the sacrificial lives of countless numbers of heroes throughout the ages; and has and must continue to stand as a beacon of His hope for all the world. We will remember 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 reach out to others in need and want, and to do all we can to assure that no one lives in fear or for want of freedom.
There are times in our history—both recent and past and all those in between—where it seems that we have forgotten how we got here. Where we have forgotten our Divinely inspired roots. Where the vitriolic, self-serving rhetoric and partisan babble drown out the quiet penetrating melody of “Taps” or the lyrics and passion of our Nation’s honored hymns. Where it seems, that we care more about self than others, or more about our own personal comfort than the plight of others.
We can no longer afford to forget. There is too much at stake. We can never forget the legacy of those who have gone before us and sacrificed so much so that we might live in freedom today. And in times like this, we must commit to never forget the roots of this great Land, and the price that so many before us paid to ensure that this Land would continue to stand for freedom, justice and liberty for all.
For you see, the liberty and freedom of our country may be a heritage, as my Granddaughters, and men women, children and grandchildren around our country enjoy—but it is never a gift. The liberty we enjoy today is not a gift, because it has been paid for at great price by the Veterans and our founders who have gone before us.
And in the midst of all we have been through, and will go through, we would do well to stand together hand-in-hand again and sing in honor of those Veterans who have stood for us and for this great Nation:
God bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
to the oceans, white with foam.
God bless America, My home sweet home.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2010. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.