Sunday, July 4, 2010
Yesterday, I was thinking about celebrating our Independence Day on the Sabbath. It is so appropriate. When you read about the signers of the Declaration of Independence, you find out that many of them were wealthy family men who really weren't financially troubled by the taxes and other restrictions placed on them by England. They had all that they needed in that respect. They had not much to gain and so much to lose by that one action. Many of them did just that, lost a lot, in some cases, even some or all of their family members. Were they saints, no, but who among us are. How many of us would have the courage to risk so much for others? I love and appreciate these men and look up to them.
History: In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. The two were detained on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag, which now hangs in the Smithsonian's American History Museum, was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem titled Defense of Fort McHenry. The poem was eventually set to music that had originally been written by English composer John Stafford Smith for a song titled "The Anacreontic Song". The end result was the inspiring song now considered the national anthem of the United States of America. It was accepted as such by public demand for the next century or so, but became even more accepted as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the Great War. The World Series performance moved everyone in attendance, and after that it was repeated for every game. Finally, on March 3, 1931, the American Congress proclaimed it as the national anthem, 116 years after it was first written.
I appreciate that they were God fearing men who began all of their meetings with prayer, calling on God to assist and guide them as they set into motion the events that would establish our country. I thought of this as I sang our national anthem as Sacrament Meeting started this morning.
This is a blessed nation. It was even before it's conception by man. They were driven by worldly riches so many times and unknowingly set the stage for this Promised Land to be brought to fruition. Yes, in the long run, many riches were discovered. Gold and silver to start with, later other natural resources that have enabled us to grow and lead in the industrial period that brought so much wealth, incentive to think out of the box. To improve what men needed to make their lives easier or even just possible. So much vast land that is so fertile.
I thank our Heavenly Father every day that I was so blessed to live in this land. That I was sent to a pretty humble family who taught me to work hard to meet my own needs and the needs of my family. I thank Him for a mother whose faith was unshakable. She didn't always have the greatest understanding of Gospel Principles, but she taught us to search prayerfully and never, never give up. To draw on any and all resources to find the eternal based answers that He had for me. To be patient while waiting for those answers. By waiting I mean "productively waiting". Continuing to do all that I can. God and Christ will know when I really have done all that I can, and then they will step in to give me what I need to accomplish or understand.
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that he experienced all the pain, anguish, and regrets that I would some day experience as He atoned for my sins and mistakes. I also know that he rejoices with me in those moments when I and my loved ones celebrate the the happy times. I know that by sending me here, they expect much of me. I am thankful for that blessing and embrace the responsibility that comes with it. I also know that They feel the same way about every person on this earth.
This whole thought process began during the opening song in Sacrament Meeting this morning. I lose my emotions every year when we sing patriotic songs at church.
Please take the time to read all of the words in our national anthem.. Please open your minds and hearts as you read them. Try to put yourself in the shoes of Francis Scott Key as he was being held prisoner on a British ship and asked repeatedly, "Is it still there?"
The Star Spangled Banner
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!