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LIFE LIBERTYAND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

HERE COMES THE FLAG

 

The full-blown days of summer are upon us as June departs and we plunge deep into July. The pale, delicate flowers of spring change into the brilliant hues of summertime—flashy orange blossoms of butterfly weed (or pleurisy root) and bright yellow heads of the black eyed Susans nod in the sun. The early crops of cabbage, broccoli and cabbage are being harvested, along with cucumbers, zucchini, and tender yellow summer squash. Tending to the garden has become a full time job that will continue now until harvest time.

The Fourth of July looms near, a joyful holiday with fireworks, watermelon, and fried chicken picnics. I wonder how many of us will stop and think what the day really means, and to appreciate our forefathers who won for us the freedom that we enjoy today. We need to remember. . "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

We owe much to these courageous men who were not afraid to bow the knee and pray, and not ashamed to acknowledge their need of a Great and Mighty God to lead this nation of ours. How far we have come today! We seem to have cast aside the very godly principles and precepts that founded our country. The most popular cry is for our "rights."

I will never forget the lesson that Mr. Hinkle, our old teacher who taught the "big room" at Hagar Grade School, gave us on our rights. "You have the right to swing your fist around in the air all you want to, as long as it doesn't connect with another fellow's nose," he intoned. "Your rights end where his nose begins."

You cannot enjoy rights and privileges without accepting responsibility. Sadly, many people today want freedom without responsibility. This produces lawlessness, which reverts right back to bondage. It all harks back to God's unchanging law of sowing and reaping. The Bible teaches us, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7) We must teach our children that for every freedom they enjoy, they are responsible for the result of their actions.

Still, America is the best country to live in today, and I am thankful that in these beautiful green hills that I have the right to "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." I will admit unashamedly that I get a lump in my throat when I see a group of youngsters saluting the flag of our country, and the wind catches the symbol of freedom and unfurls it to billow above our heads.

We were taught in grade school to love and reverence our flag, and this lesson lingers in my mind today. Thank the Lord for those teachers who taught us a love for God and our country, and instilled in us moral principles that live on in our lives. Here is an old poem that typifies my emotions when I see the flag preceding a parade:

 

THE FLAG
by Arthur Macy

 

Here comes the Flag
Hail it!
Who dares to drag
Or trail it?
Give it hurrahs—
Three for the stars
Three for the bars,
Uncover your head to it!
The soldiers who tread to it,
Shout at the sight of it,
The justice and right of it,
The unsullied white of it,
The blue and the red of it,
The tyranny's dread of it!
Here comes the Flag!
Cheer it!
Valley and crag
Shall hear it.
Fathers shall bless it,
Children caress it.
All maintain it,
No one shall stain it.
Cheers for the sailors who
fought on the wave for it,
Cheers for the soldiers who
always were brave for it,
Tears for the men who went
down to the grave for it,
Here comes the Flag!

 

George F. Hoar, Massachusett's Senator (1877-1904) wrote a most moving tribute to the flag. He wrote, "I have seen the glories of art and architecture and of river and mountain. I have seen the sun set on the Jungfrau and the moon rise over Mont Blanc. But the fairest vision on which these eyes rested was the flag of my country in a foreign port. Beautiful as a flower to those who love it, terrible as a meteor to those who hate it, it is the symbol of power and glory and the honor of millions of Americans."


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