Revisionist history has come of age in my lifetime. Often, conflicting stories of what actually took place in our nation’s growing up years leave one with the classic question, “What is truth?” I’ll give you an example.
Around 1976, the legendary newscaster Paul Harvey created an album titled, “Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor.” It was to give tribute to America’s 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. A birthday, of sorts.
The title cut from that album was a powerful piece that moved my soul. It was said to describe what actually happened to the men who committed themselves on that famous declaration after their signing. In essence, many paid the price of their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
While most stirring, snopes.com has given this widely circulated piece a closer look. (http://www.snopes.com/history/american/pricepaid.asp) The Harvey reading is passionate and certainly gives rise to patriotism. It may not give tribute to complete accuracy. Take Snopes' synopsis with a grain of salt.
Nonetheless, I am convinced from reading other sources over the years that our historic patriots paid a great price. As Harvey shared, a good number “were men of means.” They knew that their futures were in jeopardy without the needed rebellion against Great Britain. And, thus, they took on part time jobs as defenders of freedom.
We don’t have militias today in the same sense as in times past. We do, however, have full time assignments in our military serving the freedom cause. And for this, we should be most thankful.
That being said, it is not solely the job of our military to keep us free. It is our assignment as well. Each of us owes a contribution to maintaining the beauty of a free society.
Craig D. Lounsbrough (MDiv) is a licensed professional counselor. I get his newsletters every so often in my email. He obviously has the heart of a patriot and this shows up often around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the Fourth of July.
I found several of his quotes to be quite moving. Here are some of the best. To my understanding, these are all his words—not quotes from others:
“If I have become so pathetically dulled that I hold freedom as my right and the privileges of liberty as my due, I can stand beside the stilled graves of a thousand soldiers fallen in defense of freedom and not feel a thing. And my most solemn prayer is that I will never be this.”
“'Rights’ are ‘privileges,’ and if I am arrogant enough to demand the former without respecting the latter I will lose both.”
“I think we need to consider a radical rewrite of any form of patriotism that serves the individual at the expense of the community, as that is nothing more than patriotism to one's own small and solitary cause.”
“Real patriotism embraces the wholly immovable belief that without freedom, the essence of the human soul and the life-breath of the human spirit is doomed to perish for lack of space and absence of light.”
And perhaps one that speaks most to our age…
“The birthplace of anarchy is the cemetery of freedom.”
Yesterday, I spoke at our church on “The Perils of Freedom.” It was not a political message. It was instead a focus on keeping our spiritual focus on what Jesus brought to the world. And it’s centered around freedom. A perilous plight of spiritual freedom is to miss the costs associated with that freedom.
Craig Lounsbrough sums this up well:
“The most elusive and ultimately impossible act of liberation is freedom from sin and self, and no document or declaration of man regardless of how exquisitely penned can do that. Such an astonishing act of liberation could only have been penned in one place: the cross.”
Now THAT freedom is truly worth celebrating. Have a blessed Fourth of July.
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