“Freedom has its life in the heart, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” (1)
What does the Forth of July mean to you? Is it just a celebration when you don’t have to go to work? Or does the day have some special observance? What does patriotism mean? Where is your loyalty? Do you just look forward to gazing into the sky with a sense of surprise at the glittering sequence of beauty seeing the colors, sounds and brilliance on display without contemplating its true meaning. To me it is a day to express my thanks for freedom, and I devote myself to the people I love. Our flag flies by the ocean breeze with national colors in honor, as a reminder of what it means to be an American, whose liberty, equality, and justice still stand. I don’t agree with all our government policies, but I still love my country and our people. I celebrate that we are one nation under God, and take this oath seriously. Yet, opposing godly principals still resist. Yesterday the Supreme Court took a stance by allowing gay marriage in all states – that makes me sad. I am sad to see this chapter written in our country’s history that warrants our fear of judgment. Yet still I show my concerns, and point to Jesus. We change our culture one heart at a time with courage, embracing love for our country and God.
My son served in the U. S Navy. When he was discharged, he was hired by Intel, the designer of computer processing chips. This company believes in supporting those who have whole heartily served in the military. They respect and honor all veterans…a great example for us all. Vets are seen everywhere…we need to support them. They are even seen on our streets without a home. When I see a homeless man who is wearing a pin or emblems representing the military, it causes me to consider their loyalty to our country. Perhaps they are saying, “This isn’t the way my life’s always been”. They may not be able to contribute much now, but maybe they are holding onto a bit of pride from their past. It’s as if it’s yesterday, and they are still keeping those memories alive. Remember they too served our country willingly, because they believed in their freedom, just as we do. Can we listen, ask questions, and accept what we cannot fully understand? Perhaps a conversation about how they’ve served, a smile, or simple courtesy would be appreciated…let’s do our part because patriotism actively extends love in these ways.
Our part in patriotism is to contribute in bringing change into our world which adds strength to our country. Sometimes change can cause us to question our personal motives, “Are we a people that demands and expects entitlement without gratitude for what we have? Perhaps if we lived in a communist, socialist, or imperialist country where our freedom was lost, our gratitude would be greater than it is now. As we move out to serve others lets be thankful. Freedom is not free…it takes sacrifice, and it costs…let’s not take it for granted! We can rejoice, in that God refreshes us with His Spirit to love, live and find happiness where He has placed us. May we celebrate the Forth of July with devotion, “I am proud to be an American where I celebrate I am free.”
1. Dwight D Eisenhower,