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‘Old Glory’ always inspires

Sun., June 14, was Flag Day. My heart swelled with pride and thankfulness as I walked beside a long row of American flags that stood waving in the breeze on the lawn of the First United Methodist Church of Andalusia and made my way to Sunday school. Across the street behind the Andalusia City Hall, other American flags stood in tribute beside the beautiful Veterans Memorial monument.

Charles Evans Hughes, a jurist and political figure, wrote: “The flag tells of the struggle for independence, of union preserved, of liberty and union one inseparable, of the sacrifices of brave men and women to whom the ideals and honor of this nation have been dearer than life…”

Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I joined with others in the city hall auditorium in a stirring Memorial Day service. It was a rainy morning, but by the time the program was over, the weather had cleared. We walked over to the monument and read the names of the local people who made the supreme sacrifice for our country. In a time like that, one feels so inadequate. How could we express our gratitude?

We are so blessed that sometimes I think we forget how much we owe those who sacrificed so much for our country — not only those who fought and died, but those who worked hard to gain our freedoms. The words of George Washington come to mind here: “The liberty enjoyed by the people of these states, of worshipping Almighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.” I wonder how many of us think of those blessings as we enter our houses of worship and remember to thank God for them?

Reflecting on all this, I noticed that there were those who spoke on the importance of the home life of our nation. Josiah Gilbert Holland, for instance, a minister and poet, said, “No nation can be destroyed while it possesses a good home life.” He also said, “The man who loves home best, and loves it most unselfishly, loves his country best.”

From President Calvin Coolidge came these words: “Look well to the hearthstone; therein all hope for America lies.”

Poet James Keller expressed the same idea in a different way: “The home is the most vital social unit in any democracy. It influences the actions of all society. But goodness must not only be cultivated in the home, it must be carried forth beyond its doors.”

Many whose home life embodied those principles died so that today we can live in freedom under God’s care, flying the flag that symbolizes the union of hearts.

Author Wilfred A. Peterson wrote, “The good citizen clings to his great expectations. Though defeat may come and dark clouds appear, he maintains a vibrant faith in the future of mankind.”

Let us hold fast to what is right, ever trusting in God to guide us to keep our country great.