Looking back, recalling and remembering why we have a holiday in America this weekend.
Memorial Day - a day set aside in the United States of America for the purpose of stopping to consider the costs and remember the sacrifices made by men and women for 247 years.
One of the great things about moving from California to North Carolina, from the West Coast of the United States to the East, is learning the history of my new home state. The NC History Museum is a treasure trove of discovery for me. It is so interesting to learn of her involvement in the great wars our country has fought, starting with the Revolutionary War.
That royal battle at the end of the 18th century, fought on our soil, the Revolutionary War is what captured our independence. 6800. That’s how many Americans died in combat, but wait-- 6,100 were wounded and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease, including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.1
Perhaps statistics are numbing to you, unless of course you lost a loved one. We live in a day that wants to revise our great hard-won history which saddens me greatly. Do not get me wrong--I know that not every patriot was morally pure, not every skirmish righteous--slavery was criminal and should never be forgotten, and yet ours has been the best experiment in freedom ever.
In a few weeks I will be in Boston again - a city I have gotten to explore more closely, since my son Danny lives there. When I walk past the grave of Samuel Adams in downtown Boston, I remember he was one of the five men who drafted these words: 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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…2 Gratitude swells in my heart for those men and all who crafted our early governmental documents.
We must never forget the freedom we enjoy was not free for all. As a matter of fact, many paid the ultimate price - with their lives.
Ours is a courageous past ~ ours is a benevolent legacy of a country that has come to the aid of more repressed countries and disadvantaged people groups than any other in the history of the world. Call me overly sentimental if you will, but I remember the first time I viewed the Statue of Liberty from New York Harbor waters. Tears ran down my face as I thought of how many people had streamed into America in search of freedom. #and.still.do.
This plaque at her feet captures it well:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!3
If you call America home, stop and thank God for her past, her beginnings, and please resolve to be a part of standing for truth and freedom on her shores now.
One more thing: the freedom we enjoy in Jesus Christ was not free either. By choice, in order that we might be made right with him and enjoy him forever, he paid the ultimate price. No,
the freedom we enjoy in Christ wasn’t free either
- it cost Jesus everything.
Thank God for freedom because no matter where you are in this great wide world, if you are in Jesus Christ, you are free. As Paul so eloquently but succinctly wrote, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”4
Happy Memorial Day - I celebrate your Freedom!
Watch this - it is fantastic - oh, not musically, but inspirationally. I wonder if you can watch it with out tearing up. God bless our military. . . God bless my friend Ryan Richards for flying our country's airplanes and Brad and Marco who served in the Navy, Garrett the Coast Guard... you, your sons and daughters who have/or are serving today. Thank you for the liberty you have afforded millions of Americans.
Not too late to buy an American flag to fly on your Boston taxi, Hakim, or another for your house, Charles, Sarah and Jeff. Going to get another myself today, as I remember to faithfully pray for the United States of America to return to her love of the one true God.
How I love this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjZ_IlP9c5A. Gotta smile, right?
And because I love this so - here's another, a little more God and country:
Thanks, Lee Greenwood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwEcz9nABNg
With a smile on my face,
2 - the beautiful Declaration of Independence - https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
3 - “New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, https://www.howtallisthestatueofliberty.org/what-is-the-quote-on-the-statue-of-liberty/
4 - Romans 8.1-2