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As we remember our brothers and sisters who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so we can have Liberty, let us also remember that this ultimate sacrifice is not only worthy of our honor, but also of OUR daily sacrifice and devotion.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…” Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg
People are, by nature, fickle and short sighted. But it’s because of patriots who have been courageous and committed to a future beyond themselves, that our nation is one focused upon Liberty. It is now our duty to take up this mantle and secure “the blessings of Liberty for…our posterity”. But make no mistake; it will take a whole body of people to secure this Liberty. Not a whole nation, but a whole body which is “dedicated to the great task remaining before us” and which will “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion”. We have that obligation to “ages and millions yet unborn.”
We can fulfill this obligation, because we are not alone in our struggle to maintain the Liberty that so many have died for. In the words of Patrick Henry, “(we are) Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of Liberty (and) we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us…The battle…is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” WE are the “vigilant, the active, the brave” and it is time that we embrace the truth, honor our heritage, and fulfill our destiny. America is indeed exceptional, and we are still capable of exceptional bravery and commitment.
I recently had a conversation with my son, who is six and afraid of the dark. As we were getting ready for bed, I told him to turn off the light and get into bed. He said, “Mommy, I can’t, if I turn off the light it will be dark and I won’t be able to see to get back to my bed.” I explained that there is nothing between the light switch and the bed that would hurt him and that he just needed to do it. He protested for a short while and then did as he was told. I then praised him for being so brave and reassured him by pointing out that the room didn’t change simply because the lights were dim. With tears in his eyes he said, “Mommy I was not brave at all, I was scared.” What a wonderful teaching moment God had given me! I said with great pride and joy in my heart, “Honey, being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means that you do what has to be done even though you ARE scared. And you were very brave.”
We must be brave. There is much we must do.
In America’s first great struggle for Liberty, Mercy Otis Warren wrote to John Adams "I have my fears. Yet, notwithstanding the complicated difficulties that rise before us, there is no receding; and I should blush if in any instance the weak passions of my sex should damp the fortitude, the patriotism, and the manly resolution of yours. May nothing ever check that glorious spirit of freedom which inspires the patriot in the cabinet, and the hero in the field, with courage to maintain their righteous cause, and to endeavor to transmit the claim to posterity, even if they must seal the rich conveyance to their children with their own blood." We must know as Patrick Henry said, that we need not be afraid, we will not fight our battles alone. But these battles for Liberty must be fought. And as Mercy, we must be resolute in the face of fear.
We must stand firm because we have the greatest birthright of any people. We live in the greatest nation on this planet. To whom much is given, much is required. We must deny our fears that convince us that we cannot survive without the comforts we enjoy. We must deny all fears that place anything above the Liberty that has been purchased for us. We must be resolved to make the same commitment to our children that our founders made for us.
“…though we are daily threatened with the depredations of Britain…yet each city…stands ready to sacrifice their devoted lives to preserve inviolate, and to convey to their children the inherent rights of men, conferred on all by the God of nature, and the privileges of Englishmen claimed by Americans from the sacred sanction of compacts.” Mercy Otis Warren December 29, 1774
This glorious gift of Liberty comes with a price. This price has been paid for us and is continually paid by those men and women who give all. It is time that we do more than just barbeque and wear patriotic gear. We must pick up this mantle and honor their sacrifice with our devotion to the cause of Liberty, so that our children will not have to fight a battle that should be fought by us. Just because the light of this nation has dimmed, and at times we feel we cannot see the way ahead, the path to maintain Liberty has not changed. We must stand active, vigilant, brave - for the Liberty of our children – with the passion of Lincoln’s promise…
“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”May God continue to bless America a little while longer…