I LOVE AMERICA
Phillip Nolan, “The man without a country,” on his shipboard prison, wept as he read aloud:
Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
‘This is my own my native land?’
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathes, go, mark him well,
For him no minstrel raptures swell…
–Sir Walter Scott–
In the last one hundred years, America has seen three world wars, armed conflicts In Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and currently ISIS [Islamic state of Iraq and Syria], airport bombings, school shootings, gun control fights, animal activists, Nine-Eleven, terrorist shootings in and San Bernardino, Orlando, immigration wars, And a thousand and one other crises!
So many negative events have taken our focus from this great nation, so on this 240th birthday of American independence, let’s sound a note of thanksgiving for the America we love, our “Home Sweet Home.” Allow me to share some reasons of why I love America.
1. I love America because it has been a refuge for millions:
On our Statue of Liberty are the words from “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Over one half of all Americans have relatives who went through Ellis Island. There are not many Native Americans! Most of us have not journeyed far from Ellis Island! Many have descendants from the British Isles, South America, Spain, Mexico, Africa, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Scandinavia, Germany, France, and from all over Europe. My ancestors arrived in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland from Ireland in 1663 with a land grant from England’s King Charles I. Some of our ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.
2. I love America because of the sanctity of the home:
The greatest American heritage is the home. In fact, we are told that the equivalent to the word “home” is not even found in many languages.
Home is a fortress in a warring world, a place where a man buckles on his armor for the day’s battles, and gets his wounds cared for when he comes home from the conflict.
Home is one of the two institutions God gave to us, and in America we have greater opportunities to have good homes and great families than any other nation on earth.
So long as there are homes to which men turn at close of day,
So long as there are homes where love is found, where children play.
As long as love and loyalty and faith be found across these sills,
A stricken nation can recover from it’s gravest ills.
So long as there are homes where fires burn and there is bread,
So long as there are homes where lamps are lit and prayers are said,
Although nations falter in the dark and people grope,
With God Himself behind these little homes, we still can hope.
–Grace Nowell Crowell –
An old man was asked, “Where is the most beautiful place in America? The majesty of the redwoods, the restless rolling of the ocean, Niagara Falls?” The old man answered, “No! I reckon it’s Arkansas, ‘cause that’s where the folks are.”
California where I live is called, “The end of the Oklahoma Trail,” from all of the Dust-Bowl refugees that moved here in the thirties. Some call them “CIOs, California improved Oakies.” Or “CIAs, California improved Arkies.”
“Mid pleasures and palaces, though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
–John Howard Payne–
3. I love America because she is beautiful:
You do not have to tour Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa to view scenic wonders. You can find it all in America.
“Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain…”
– Words by Katharine Lee Bates, Melody by Samuel Ward–
God smiled, and gold poured from the rocky crags of the golden west. God smiled again, and the picturesque hills of the east yielded black gold in ample abundance to warm our homes and turn the wheels of industry. God smiled and the automobile, the airplane and a thousand and one industrial miracles took place before our very eyes. God smiled and has seen to it the Old Glory has never dipped her colors to any God-hating, man-enslaving, atheistic country.
Henry Van Dyke, upon returning home from one of his many trips abroad wrote these words:
And so its home again, and home again America for me.
My heart is turning home again, and it’s there I long to be.
In the land of truth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunshine and the flag is full of stars.
4. I love America because of our democracy:
No ship of state was ever wrecked on Plymouth Rock!
America is great because of its democratic form of government. We could be goose-stepping at the heels of storm troupers or bowing before the Imperial Palace in Tokyo or receiving our laws from the House of Parliament. But thank God, even with all of our current political problems, Americans still believe we are winners. Even though we have Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, scandals and corruption, every four years we can kick them out if we disagree with them.
5. I love America because our history:
I love American history! Our family has visited the Henry Ford Museum, and Greenfield Village, with 200 acres of inventions, inspiration, innovation, and Americana. We have seen Congress and the Senate in session from the Galleries; took a private tour of the White House, including the Cabinet Rooms and the Oval Office. We actually saw President Nixon in a hallway (he spoke to us). Years ago you could just go in and walk around our National Capital Building. We have had lunch many times in the Congressional Dining Room, eating the famous Bean Soup.
While living in Baltimore, we visited Gettysburg and all the places that relate to our American heritage. I stood where President Lincoln stood at Gettysburg. We have looked out over that vast Mississippi Valley at Vicksburg and have seen the monuments of the Civil War. We stood in the very room where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, and have actually touched the crack in the Liberty Bell. We have been at Sutter’s Fort, California where the great Gold Rush of 1849 began, St. Augustine, Florida, America’s oldest city. And had the great thrill of standing in the very Pew at St. John’s Church Richmond where Patrick Henry stood and declared “Give me liberty or give me death.”
6. I love America because of our freedom of religion:
How many places are left in this world where one can worship freely, according to the dictates of his own personal preference, with no pressure from a state church or even from government? Although I do not agree with all of the religions that are practiced in America, I would be willing to go to war, fight, bleed and die for their right to exist. Here in our free country we still have the right to propagate Christianity, we can even go door to door witnessing to the grace of God. And we Bible believing Christians are so diverse, and we disagree on many points of doctrine, yet there is unity among true believers, bound together by a belief that we can win our little corner of America to Christ.
7. I love America because of our unity:
You will notice that the Preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the People!” It does not say, “We the whites, we the blacks, we the Spanish, we the Asians, or we the Native Americans.” Nor does it say, “we the “Democrats, we the Republicans, we the Liberals, or we the Conservatives.” It says “We the People of the United States of America.”
We have been a unified people! In every national crisis in the past 240 years! “We the People” have pulled together! Oh, there have been times when we have been torn apart by strife from those who would betray our great nation. These dissenters protested our involvement in Korea, Viet Nam, and the Middle East, but in the final analysis Americans stick together! 9-11 proved that! You would think after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, our enemies would get the message, “Don’t Tread on Me!” National tragedy pulls us together! The American attitude is, you can say what you will about me, but do not attack my family, and America is my family!
8. I love America because of the blessings of God:
The genius of statesmen does not build a great nation. Forms of government do not make a nation great. Energy of the people, although very necessary, does not make a nation great! What is it? The blessing of God, “Blessed is that nation whose God is the LORD” [Psalm 33:12].
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French politician, historian and thinker said, after visiting America more than one hundred years ago, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers and it was not there…in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there…in her rich mines and vast world commerce and it was not there…in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power…”
Abraham Lincoln said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven, we have grown in number, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.”
We are amazed at how God so richly blessed Israel in the six-day war…One rifle for every six soldiers, and a totally inadequate number of tanks and heavy artillery. In some battles they were outnumbered ten to one. Against overwhelming odds they won, why? “Blessed is that nation whose God is the LORD!” Israel is now and ever will be God’s chosen people.
But if you think that’s amazing, just take a look at American history! In our War for Independence, the Revolutionary War, a handful of ill-equipped men, mostly farmers with no training, little discipline, even less regimentation, and inadequate leadership, defeated the mightiest power of its day, the British, why? “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!”
We have stood many times at Fort McHenry in Baltimore and looked to a point on the Patapsco River and have relived the battle that took place there in September of 1814. The British had just burned Washington D.C. to the ground, now they turn their military might on the poorly guarded city of Baltimore. At Sparrows Point they disembarked several thousand troops, who marched around the Southeastern portion of the city until they reached the armament at Battery Park. Then the ships from Sparrows Point made their way to a point on the Patapsco River, and anchored where the guns from the Fort couldn’t reach them. Then they bombarded the Fort all night long. Then at the coming of first light the British retreated…Why? “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!” That night Francis Scott Key, a young lawyer who was a prisoner on the deck of the British ship, had been watching all night as the rockets illuminated the sky and the bombs burst on shore. About dawn, he wrote these words, “Oh say can you see by the dawns early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilights last gleaming.’ “Blessed is that nation whose God is the LORD!”
Look at Nazi Germany, we were outmanned, outgunned, ill-supplied and Hitler’s military might was greater than anyone could have imagined, but thank God we do not wear the dreaded swastika today, do we? “Blessed is that nation whose God is the LORD!”
The British learned: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!” Hitler learned: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!”
Mussolini learned: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!”
Hirohito learned: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!”
Saddam Hussein learned: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!”
And every nation that lifts its hand against America shall learn: “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord!” The Word of God declares in Psalms 9:17; “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forgets God.”
Not serried ranks with flags unfurled,
Nor armored ships that gird the world.
Not hoarded wealth, nor busy mills,
Not cattle on a thousand hills.
Not sages wise, nor schools nor laws,
Not boasted deeds in freedom’s cause.
All these may be and still the state
In the eyes of God be far from great.
That land is great who knows the Lord,
Whose songs are guided by His Word.
Where justice rules twixt man and man,
And love controls in art and plan.
Where breathing in his native air,
Each soul finds joy in praise and prayer.
Thus may our country good and great,
Be God’s delight and man’s best estate.
One of President Lincoln’s aides said to him at the very crisis of the Civil War, “Mr. President, is God on our side?” Mr. Lincoln replied, ”I am not concerned about that at all, what I’m concerned about is, are we on God’s side?”
If America falls, and I believe if we do not protect her she will, the honest historian will write this epitaph, “This was a nation that was founded on the rock of God’s Word and Christian morality, whose people loved freedom and many gave their lives to gain and protect it, but became too busy, too brainwashed, and too materialistic to preserve it.”
What we need most is a heaven-sent revival. With Isaiah we pray, “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you” [Isaiah 60:1-5].”Oh, that You would tear open the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence…To make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations might tremble at Your presence” [Isaiah 64:1-2].
And in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray, and keep seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
In New York Harbor stands a lady with a torch raised to the sky,
And all who see her knows she stands for liberty for you and I.
I’m so proud to called an American,
To be named with the brave and the free,
I will honor the flag and our trust in God and the Statue of Liberty.
On lonely Golgotha stood a cross, with my LORD raised to the sky,
And all who kneel there live forever, as all the saints can testify.
I’m so glad to be called a Christian,
To be named with the ransomed and free.
As the Statue liberates the citizen, so the cross liberates the soul.
Oh, the cross is my Statue of Liberty, it was there that my soul was set free,
Unashamed I’ll proclaim that a rugged cross is my Statue of Liberty.
I love America and I love Jesus!
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