“The emblem of the land I love …”

Today, June 14, is Flag Day. It marks the date in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the first American flag.

When I typed the title of this blog, “The emblem of the land I love …” I paused, for as a missionary kid, I consider Nigeria West Africa and the United States of America my “home” and I love both of them. They hold special places in my heart. I am grateful for the experiences, some very positive and some negative, that I had growing up in Nigeria. And, I am grateful that I live in the USA, with all of her faults and problems.

My dad loved America, the country for which he fought during World War II as a  Navy Corpsman attached to the 3rd Marine Division on Guam and Iwo Jima. And, he loved the US Flag, and taught us to love and respect it as a symbol of America, and a symbol of the freedoms we have because of the sacrifice of so many men and women throughout the years who have fought for those freedoms. The flag gave hope and spurred on those Marines on Iwo Jima as it was raised on the top of the volcano, Mt. Surabachi. After the first smaller flag was raised, Joe Rosenthal took the now-famous picture of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

Our nation has so many serious problems, and collectively we seem to have lost the ability to be civil. Yet, the flag still stands for our freedom!

George M. Cohan wrote, You’re a Grand Old Flag that says:

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.

The final verse of our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key says:

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Many people today are trying to rewrite history and the future by removing anything that points to God and limiting our freedom as Americans to worship freely. Regardless of these things, our nation was founded by men and women, flawed and sinful as they were, who placed their trust and hope in God.

I pray that on this day, as the news is filled with the horrible account of the shooting in Alexandria VA, that we would all take a moment to reflect upon the events of today and the current state of our nation and world, and give thanks to God for His blessings, and commit ourselves anew to be beacons of the Light and Hope of God! The only HOPE for us individually, for our nation, and the world is in and through the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-19)!

NOTE: I commend to you  A Call to Christian Patriotism written by my friend and mentor Dr. Howard A. Eyrich.