Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reflections on Patriotism

Have you ever read the story about how the Star Spangled banner was written?  Even if you have I highly recommend watching this slide show and sharing it with your kids.  It's a powerful reminder of the great people who have helped make our country what it is today and the divine protection our country has received time and time again.

Twenty years ago I thought I knew all about what it meant to be a patriot--wearing flag shirts on the 4th of July, painting my nails red, white, and blue, knowing the words to the Star Spangled Banner, and even listening to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" all day.  I was only sixteen, but man oh man was I ever a true patriot.   

 In the ignorance of my youth, I truly believed that that's all there was to being a patriot.  But somewhere between having kids and growing older, my perspective has changed significantly through the years.   

The more I learn about our Founding Fathers and their faith and vision filled lives, the more I know that being a patriot is far more than just wearing patriotic clothes and proclaiming that I'm proud to be an American.  

Patriotism is about respect--respecting our flag, respecting our leaders, respecting our fellow citizens, and in turn respecting our country and what it stands for.  

Patriotism is about honor--honoring the memory of our Founding Fathers' visions and ideals, honoring the memory of the countless men and women who have lost their lives in the service of our country, and honoring God who prepared this great land as a beacon to the world.

And finally patriotism is about action--actively striving to make our homes and families stronger, acting to raise our children in wisdom and righteousness, and actively seeking for ways to improve our schools and communities.  Just because we're not running for office or holding a position of perceived power, we should never underestimate the difference that our actions can make.   

" I am only one, but I am one. I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do. "  


Since I don't feel that I've been all that successful in conveying the feelings of my heart today, here are some wise words from President Ezra Taft Benson which better express the message I am trying to share.  

"America has a spiritual foundation. But today she stands at the crossroads, The crisis before her is a crisis of faith; the need is for greater spirituality and a return to the basic principles upon which this nation was founded.

In the words of Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”   That was said on December 23, 1776, a time of great crisis in our struggle for independence. We face a similar spiritual crisis more than 200 years later.

The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will require the faith, prayers, loyalty, and courage of every citizen.

May God’s blessings be upon us that our generation will be equal to the task."


Happy Independence Day and may God continue to bless America! 


Steve-Rosanna said...

Powerful message Lara. Thanks for sharing and for articulating your thoughts about this great and blessed land.

Thank you as well for sharing the history of Francis Scott Key's account of the shelling of Fort McHenry and seeing the ragged flag still waving as the sun rose after a night of shelling by the British.
It gave me goosebumps.

This is truly a land chosen and blessed by God to be the land of the restoration. We are indeed at a crossroads and becoming ripened in inquity. If we do not repent and change our ways-we are risking the wrath of a loving Heavenly Father.

May God continue to bless America!!

Meme said...

Thank you for sharing - I shared your post with my family this evening and it encouraged a great discussion on the men and women that founded this country and where we are today; it was our son that reminded us how important prayer is for our leaders and fellow citizens alike. The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.