The song God Bless the USA written by Lee Greenwood has always given me chills and filled me with pride for the red, white, and blue. My cousin sang it for the church when he was a little boy, which was funny since it was hard to picture him with children and a wife. ~smile~ I remember standing with others in a chapel, listening to Greenwood’s song while holding a candle and remembering those who lost their lives in the twin towers. Many songs have been written about our great land, but God Bless the USA is by far my favorite. I can’t imagine any other modern day patriotic song taking its place.
The song begins with the lyrics, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life…And I had to start again with just my children and my wife…I thank my lucky starts to be living here today…’Cause that flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.” Those words are a simple reminder that no matter what we face in America, we are still free. Because we are free, we are able to pick ourselves up and start over. When we face layoffs, doctor bills, and others heartaches and stressors, we can continue to follow our dreams. Our dreams aren’t handed to us, but we have the freedom to keep pursuing them.
Dave Ramsey‘s story comes to mind when I think about what it must be like to lose everything. Here is a man who made it big buying and selling real estate only to have his entire world pulled out from under him when the bank (which was sold to another bank) called all of his notes at once. He jokes that they got so many foreclosure notices that they started getting on a first-name basis with, and his wife baked cookies for, the officer that brought them. He literally went from having millions to being completely broke overnight. He had a toddler and a baby and his wife was terrified (as I would be). Now, twenty-something years later, you can’t find too many people, at least in church circles, who have not heard of him. Some agree with his principles and others don’t, but one thing is for sure – he could not have gained so much, lost everything, and built another multimillion dollar business if he was not free to do so. Most of us won’t go to our graves as millionaires – and that’s fine. The point is that we have the ability to strive after the passions and goals God has placed in our hearts.
Reviewing our nation’s history is a reminder that our freedom came at a great price. Many lives were given to gain our country’s freedom and many lives have been given preserving it. Chances are that some of the blood which was shed belonged to some of your ancestors. In fact, I have a hard time finding anyone in my age bracket that did not have a grandfather or great uncle that served in World War II. We get so distracted with the business around us that we can lose focus of how fragile our freedoms are and how much work and determination it takes to preserve them.
The first step any American can and should take to preserve our freedom is to vote. It takes very little time out of our day a few days a year. It may seem pointless, but I guarantee you that those who are trying to steal our freedoms will make sure they have people lining up in droves to vote them into office. A famous quote says, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men to do nothing.” The origin of this quote is still unknown, but we can’t deny the truth in it.
Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! Whether you were born here or you have settled here and become an American citizen, I celebrate our nation’s freedom with you today. Those of you looking forward to your upcoming wedding day, take a good long look at that man or woman you are about to marry and thank God that you have the freedom to choose to spend your life with him or her. God Bless the USA!