As I was anticipating what Thanksgiving would offer, great food, time with our families, football, Christmas decorating and reflecting on the goodness that God has bestowed, I was traveling on one of the main highways near my home. It was unusually cold for the Southeastern Coastal Area and the chill in the air actually added to the warm holiday feeling.
My thoughts were centering around Thanksgiving and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a 100 foot pole with what I believe is one of the most beautiful sights on earth waiving in the breeze. Old Glory was at full furl in the wind. As I took in this magnificent scene I began thinking about the marvelous heritage we as Americans have that no one else on earth can claim.
A heritage that at times we take for granted which has brought us freedom and liberty that have never been experienced before in human history except in this land we love, The United States of America. Freedom that began as ideals then flourished into the gathering of some of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known who met in Philadelphia in 1776 and displayed the courage to commit treason against the British Crown in placing their names on a most precious document that brought their ideals into reality and gave birth to a nation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These are more than just words penned to paper but the birth of freedom and opportunity that began the heritage which allows each of us as Americans to relfect with grateful hearts for all that God has given us throughout our short and prosperous history. This heritage came at a cost through great sacrifice to insure that those freedoms expressed so many years ago which are, “endowed by our Creator,” are able continue for us and future generations.
I think of those bitter days at Valley Forge when the determination of George Washington held the fledgling Continental Army together to later become victorious baptizing this new nation with the precious blood of fallen hero’s. Of those terrible years from 1860-1865 when this young country and her Constitution were put through the ultimate test when brother fought brother, both believing that they were fighting for the same ideals that the Founders intended and when the test was over this Nation found a new birth of freedom that, “this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I think of the Dough-Boys living in the filth of the trenches of WW I hundreds of miles from home yet still fighting for the same ideals that their brothers died for in the Revolution. Of the , “Greatest Generation, ” who sacrificed and defeated fascism to ring liberties bell loud and long throughout the world as Old Glory flew proclaiming that all men can be free.
The men who landed at Inchon and climbed Pork Chop Hill in, “The Forgotten War, ” Korea, but who fought for liberties flag with the same determination and sacrifice as their brothers of the past. Those who sacrificed and gave of themselves in the jungles of Vietnam standing true to liberties cause. The thousands of hero’s of Desert Storm, Fallujah, Baghdad and the mountains of Afghanistan who defended liberty and sacrificed for freedom.
Then I realized that this marvelous heritage that has grown through history is not just a heritage of the past but a living vibrant heritage that continues to grow and flourish each day that the Red, White and Blue flies, whether here at home, the Middle East, north or south, east or west or where ever the influence of, ” We the People,” and the immortal words of the Declaration penned in 1776 and the Constitution penned in 1788 are expressed by our brave men and women in uniform or by travelers on business or pleasure both at home and abroad. For you see all of us are part of this historical and living heritage that is America.
As freedom rings in this land we love, General Washington still strides atop his white horse. Abraham Lincoln continues shares both his whit and his wisdom to us all. Orville and Wilbur Wright will always be flying at Kitty Hawk, NC. Thomas Edison is inventing the light bulb. Alexander Graham Bell still asks Watson, “can you hear me?” Both making earth changing discoveries. David O Selznick forever directs Scarlett and Rhett. Sousa still waves his baton to the stirring fanfare of , “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
As freedom rings in our beloved America, the battleship Arizona and her brave crew will always sail the seas. Lucy, Ricky, Barney, Andy and the Beaver forever make us laugh. John F. Kennedy eternally proclaims, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Neal Armstrong continues to, “take one small step for a man and one giant leap for mankind.” Ronald Reagan will always see, “the shining city on a hill, ” and the World Trade Center will forever stand glistening in the sun.
Today in distant lands our best and brightest are fighting to keep this heritage of freedom and liberty alive and vibrant so that future generations can forever sing, “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty of thee I sing.” So that future generations will always be able to reflect with pride on the liberties they are now paying for with their unselfish sacrifice.
During this time set aside on the long calendar year to give thanks for all that we have and all that we are, let us not neglect to remember the bountiful blessing each of us know as The United States of America. Giving thanks for our family, our hero’s serving in distant lands and here at home. Thanksgiving for our freedoms and the living, breathing heritage that keeps us free. God bless you and yours through this holiday season and may God continue to bless The United States of America. Happy Thanksgiving.