Not only is it our country’s birthday on July 4, but it’s my birthday on July 5.
My birthday, I can forget. Especially this year! A big one: three score and ten years! Our country’s birthday, I cannot forget. Pondering on this…
I thought about…when I was young, my parents belonged to a group of friends that had known each other since before World War II began. Most of the men joined some branch of the services. My dad joined the Navy and that is where he met my mother. Dad played the trombone for the Navy band and Mom was a naval secretary.
This group of friends always gathered for special occasions. It swelled to extended families, with some reaching four generations, for July 4th parties.
Since this gathering always took place at my parents’ home, Mom loved to go all out with the decorations. Everything in red, white, and blue.
I thought about…the year we celebrated the 4th as our country celebrated the great bicentennial. We watched the awesome festivities on the television, which included an international fleet of tall ships in New York City’s harbor and the beautiful array of fireworks over the Statue of Liberty.
A wave of patriotism and nostalgia swept over the nation. People decorated practically everything from the front doors of their homes or businesses to their mailboxes and even fire hydrants.
Flags hung everywhere or were painted on. Trains were painted in stripes of red, white, and blue. NASA painted the flag and the bicentennial symbol on the side of its vehicle assembly building.
Commercial products by the score displayed packaging of red, white, and blue. Many paid a fee to use the trademarked bicentennial star. Some the TV coverage lasted for fourteen hours. Disney went all out, even changing the theme of their nighttime parade.
It saddens me that we no longer have this sweeping pride in our country.
So, I thought about…the pilgrims embarking on such a dangerous journey to leave their homeland and settle in a strange land.
As a religious group, the pilgrims left because of the persecution of the Church of England. They sailed out of Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, in search of a new world of promise.
Aboard ship, they found the sailors resented their daily prayers, hymns, and scripture reading sessions, but, in the end, the sailors admitted that the pilgrims were strong and brave.
When they disembarked and stepped on shore at Plymouth Rock, they knelt in prayer and held a prayer service. Prayer was the basis for all they had done and all they would do.
I then thought about…those prayers of the pilgrims that undergirded the foundation of this nation and brought about the reason for celebrating Independence Day and the great freedom of religion this country has enjoyed through the efforts and courage of those 102 people. Though today, that freedom is being slowly eroded.
I thought about…praying as the first settlers did. Do we bend our knees for our country? Do we pray for our President and all who are in authority? Do we pray as Paul instructed Timothy, “Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all He is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord” (1 Tim 2:1-2 TLB)?
I thought about…all the precious souls who have put their lives on the line for this country that we might enjoy the freedoms and privileges that we do. God bless all of you for your service!
And I think about this…may the Red, White, and Blue ever wave freely and our hearts ever be patriotic!
I hope you will watch this wonderful video of Red Skelton and his definition of the pledge of allegiance. You don’t want to miss this…