Friday, July 3, 2009

Long May Our Land Be Bright

By Kristine John

To have never seen or felt the immediate effects of war within the borders of our own country is a blessing.
While I would never wish to see the struggles, trials, and horrors of war in my homeland, I see my generation, full of expectations regarding their freedoms, yet without desire to exercise the personal responsiblities that ensure ongoing freedom.

Dick Cheney said, "It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you."

Many struggle to make our freedom our priority in the midst of our busy lives, looking for ease and excuses in many of our daily encounters with patriotism.
So I ask:
Do our flags fly on each national holiday?
Do our hands rest solidly on our chests as the flag passes us by, feeling the beat of our heart speed up as we stand straight, showing respect for the sacred symbol of our nation?
Do we take the opportunity to vote, to make our voices heard, in each election in which we are able?
Have we imparted to our children, even a portion, of the importance of the sacrifices that have been made in our behalf for our country and for our freedom?
Do we strive to live what we are taught in the 12th Article of Faith: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law?"

It has been said, "Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. ...Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong." -- James Bryce.

As I strive to teach each child in my eternal care the importance and lessons of yesterday and how they apply to our today, and to our tomorrows, I am heartened to know that it is their goodness, our righteousness even, that will help our country not only to be strong but also to stay independent. As they put righteousness first, they will find that the patriotism follows and the strength that blesses their lives as they stand for what they believe in.

The 4th verse of My County 'Tis of Thee captures the prayer of my heart:

Our fathers' God, to thee,
author of liberty, to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

May your Independence Day be a day of heartfelt gratitude and renewed conviction.
We have so much to be grateful for.

*I blogged for the 4th of July last year too...here*




6 comments:

  1. great post Kristine! I wish everyone would pay more attention to the reasons we celebrate this holiday. i feel so sad when I see people ignore the flag and the national anthem. I feel really sad/angry when our public schools won't let our kids wear red/white/blue because it might cause friction...but they fly another countries flag and sing that countries anthem and encourage the kids to wear red/green/white. yep...that is happening in inner city Phoenix schools.

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  2. I had tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat as I stood with hand over heart watching cub scouts post Old Glory, and lead us in the pledge of allegiance. I wanted to sing The Star Spangled Banner, especially the last verse in our hymn book. the one that begins with "Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation," and ends with ... No, I can't skip any of it. It goes on with "Blessed with victory and peace may the heaven-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." I'd like to see that verse sung as often as the historical first verse. Now I'm going to read your last year's post.

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  3. Okay, I read your last year's post. You quoted the verse I did in my this year's comment. We think alike--at least sometimes. Thank you.

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  4. We do, indeed, have so much to be garteful for! Thank you for this stirring and heartfelt reminder, Kristine!

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  5. With my dad being a vet and involved in several veteran's organizations, I see firsthand some of the prices they paid so I could live free. How do you thank someone for that? Oddly all they want is that thank you, that acknowledgement. Wonderful post for the Fourth.

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  6. My father also fought for our country. He was a POW and suffered great amounts of torcher. In fact, he is the only suvivor from the camp he was in, and that is because after having bayenettes (sp) stabbed through both knee caps, he was left without a gaurd. Who could walk when injured like that? My father crawled with just his arms to pull himself for several miles. We owe so much to our soldiers and so much has been sacrificed so that we can live in this great country. May God bless this country and those whom love it.

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