The fireworks have faded, and the picnic baskets put away for another year. The red, white, and blue decorations are discarded, and some people have even removed the flags that waved proudly from the front porch only a few days ago. The outfits celebrating the holiday are cleaned and hung in the back of the closet, with hopes that they will still fit next year. It’s back to work as usual until the next holiday.
Holidays like Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc., are days that we set apart to recognize, commemorate, and celebrate certain events in history. It is a good thing to bring special attention to these events, right? Yes, of course it is. But my favorite people are the people who remember these events every day! People who fly their flags 365, not just patriotic holidays. I suppose there could be the argument that flying it every day would lead us to become immune to its presence, and make it less special. Perhaps that is true for some. When I’m inside my house, I don’t see it. But each time I go outside, or turn into my driveway, I see it, and am thankful. And, when driving through the streets of my community, I LOVE to see it waving from the side of your house!
Exactly one month after the 9/11 attacks, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston with Mrs. Thompson’s AP US History class. We weren’t even sure we would be allowed to fly, but thankfully, air travel was allowed to resume before our departure date, October 11, 2001. We flew into Logan airport, the origin of those flights that brought about the tragedies of 9/11.
History was one of my least favorite subjects in school, and I remembered very little of what I learned. Visiting the sites of the events that would shape our nation awakened within me a new feeling of pride in my country, and a sober realization of the real cost of freedom. Visiting the graves of some of the founding fathers felt like walking on sacred ground, and my heart was full of gratitude. Sitting on the cool grass in the Lexington Green, and walking across the (replica) Old North Bridge, we were taken back to the first days of the revolution. I could almost smell the gunpowder. It changed me.
Needless to say, the trip had more of an effect on me than it did the students, and I learned (and felt) so much. In their defense, had I been an upcoming 10th grader on a “history trip”, I probably wouldn’t have been as caught up in it either. I hope that someday they will remember having the honor to visit the pages of history.
We live in a very troubled world today. The past week, even in the shadow of our celebration of freedom, we have seen so much ugliness within our nation. Our government is spiraling out of control. Our presidential candidate choices are abysmal. Martin Luther King, Ben Franklin, John Hancock – what would these men think and say if they could see what we have become? What does Jesus think? How can we fix this?
I saw a post on Facebook that said something like this: “If you weren’t saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ yesterday, how can you say ‘All Lives Matter’ today?” Huh? I didn’t say “Black Lives Matter”, or “Blue Lives Matter” yesterday or the day before. Because I DO BELIEVE that All Lives Matter. Until everyone embraces the fact that All Lives Matter, then things will just continue to deteriorate. And as we continue to kill and hate each other within the borders of our nation, we will prove Abraham Lincoln’s words that “A house divided against itself shall fall.” (Also Mark 3:25)
Sometimes I just wish Jesus would hurry on up and come get us. But that is the coward’s way out. There is still work to be done. We tend to think that there is nothing we can personally do to effect the change our world needs. And there’s probably not anything that we can do on a global level. But I can make a change in my heart, in my household, in my family. In my small little world where I live. And so can you. In the words of Gandhi – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And the words of Michael Jackson’s song, start with “the man in the mirror.”
I love this nation, and what she once stood for. I pledge my allegiance to a flag that represents that which upon we were founded. Today’s America is not the America for which my heroes fought, bled, and died. But we must maintain our allegiance, and resolve to be the change. If we don’t do that, change will come anyway, but in a very bad way. Fly your flags! Pray for our leaders! Pray for our law enforcement officers. Pray for our pastors. Pray for our citizens. Pray for courage and integrity within our own hearts. And never stop praying for God to Bless America!!