Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Debt

Sometimes I wish I were Hunter.

Ok, so maybe I don't actually want to BE Hunter...but I wish I had his gift.

Last Sunday, as I stood with my congregation to sing our national anthem, something happened to me. And I wish I were Hunter so that I could communicate it.

It was so powerful that I'm going to try anyway.

The Star-Spangled Banner is a beautiful song. I've sung it countless times and I always enjoy the sweet, patriotic, reverent feeling it brings. I love singing and remembering our blessed country. I love America.

This time was different, though.

The song began as it usually does. I was standing with my family looking at the flag in the front of the chapel and thinking of our great country. In my mind, I was gearing up for the coming high notes...and a bit apprehensive about the thought of the aging, but notoriously operatic soprano standing in front of me attempting the extra octave leap on the final one.  As we commenced the final verse, though, the words demanded my attention.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!

All of a sudden my mind was full of faces. Hundreds of faces. I've never had a member of my family in the military. I've never had a loved one leave me to serve our I don't know how it feels. I have always felt a sense of indebtedness to the brave soldiers who have fought for my freedom. But as I sang, I imagined the faces in those "loved homes".  I saw the rigid features of stalwart fathers...the pride in their eyes almost obscuring the fear. I saw mothers with eyes heavenward, still capable of breathing only because they trusted their sons to the care of God. I saw brothers and sisters and uncles and wives. I saw friends and children and grandparents and sweethearts. And for the first time, I began to feel the sheer enormity of the sacrifice.

It is not just to those who served that I owe my gratitude.

It is to everyone who loved them.

And I was completely overwhelmed.

The song continued:

Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Heaven rescued land!

You and I live in a land that was rescued from tyranny by God. He, our Creator, hath made and preserved us a nation.

We cannot forget Him.

We can NEVER forget Him.

Too many brave ones have sacrificed. Too many tears have been shed. Too many hearts have been broken. The stakes are too high.

We can never allow tyranny to turn us from our God.


  1. This nation is a Gift to us from God, and we have allowed too many to pee on this Gift.

  2. Excellent! But you are far too kind - you do not need my gift (overblown as it is), you have your own!

    Very well written - you've expressed the sentiment perfectly!


    Another reason to not want to be me (it is a long list, by the way): I tend to do stupid things on the 4th of July - things that do not even need the influence of alcohol to spring into being.

    This year's version: I was swimming with my 3-year-old on my back, apparently blinked at the wrong time, or was closer to the edge than I thought, or something along those lines, because I ran full-force into the top edge of the bottom step - with my face.

    The bleeding didn't last long, but I'm going to look stupid(er) for awhile.

    By the way, we had a great 4th, and we'll never forget why we celebrate the day at all.

    Happy Independence Day, Everyone!

    1. Thanks, Hunter. That means an awful lot coming from you. :)

      And I mean the compliment. Not the fact that you hit your head and were bleeding. :P

      Btw, I have a three-year-old too! Keeps you on your toes, doesn't it?

    2. They certainly do! So much so that I occasionally post "SCAMP ALERT!"s on Facebook to keep the in-laws up to date on her various hilarious developments.

  3. The Akron Symphony Orchestra dedicated a Sousa number to the families and widows of service members who have fallen. It was a moving moment.

    1. :) Wonderful.

      I am also so grateful to all who have served--those who came home as well. Also their cousins, grandmothers, and all those who worried and hoped and prayed while they were away.

      Thanks to arik, Keln, Springeraz and Harvey for their fine service.

      I am in your debt. :)

      Did any of the rest of you serve?

  4. Then conquer we must
    For our cause it is just
    Let this be our motto
    In God is our trust

    And the star-spangled banner
    O long may it wave
    Oer the land of the free
    And the home of the brave!

    My favorite verse.