Towards A New Birth of Freedom

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John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (NIV 1984)

Musings of Others – Today I’ve selected the musings of others to share as we commemorate Memorial Day 2019 and those brave soldiers who laid down their lives for their fellow country men and women.

  • Francis Scott Key – “Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?”
  • Unknown – “Our flag does not fly [“yet wave”] because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”
  • George Washington – “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
  • Abraham Lincoln – “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt – “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
  • John F. Kennedy – “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
  • Ronald W. Reagan – “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

My Musings – Francis Scott Key might be surprised indeed that our flag still waves.  But he probably would not be surprised that it took the “last breath of [so many] soldier[s] who died protecting it” to keep it flying for so long.  As a nation, as individuals, we need to make sure that those soldiers who “gave [their] last full measure of devotion” did not “die in vain” and to not “forget in time that [these] men died to win” the freedoms we enjoy, that they continue to be “appreciated by their nation.”

It is sobering indeed to realize that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” something that Francis Scott Key probably realized when he penned those words.  So we need to continue to be vigilant that “these dead shall not have died in vain,” particularly given the fact that the “cost of freedom is always high.”  I would hate to think that following so close behind the “greatest generation” that I could be among the generation of that freedom’s extinction.

What is particularly sobering to me, is that today, what may be the greatest threat to this nation’s extinction, is not some foreign enemy, but ourselves.  As I see the bickering amongst our elected officials, the polarization of our citizens, and the animosity that seems to permeate the fabric of our nation, I fear that one other quote may become more prophetic than all of the others. For we have known all along that “a house divided against itself cannot stand:”

  • Nikita Khrushchev – “We do not have to invade the United States, [you will destroy yourselves] from within.”

My Advice – We need not “spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”  We need not choose the “path of surrender, or submission” or self-extinction.  How do we guard against it:

  • George Washington – “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East or West [no Democrat or Republican, no liberal or conservative]. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in union. In one word, be a nation. Be Americans, and be true to yourselves.”

But more importantly be a nation “under God” that does “not perish from the earth” until Christ returns.  This is how we can best remember the “honored dead.”

2 Chronicles 7:14If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (NIV 1984)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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