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*