234 years old … sounds like one of the ancient patriarchs of early Bible days, but today we celebrate the birthday of our country by singing “God Bless America,” “America, the Beautiful,” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
We honor our war dead and celebrate the lives of returned veterans. This morning, I watched the video of the men and women of North Avenue Church who served WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan; the list is unending. Wars and rumors of wars remain unceasing and I sometimes wonder if God does not weep at the horrific waste of His Creation, both in manpower and goods.
Several years ago I served as counselor-teacher for Charlie Jinks and his sister, both from our local church; we were working on their GOD AND COUNTRY Scouting awards. This morning I saw Charlie’s picture, now an Iraq-Afghanistan veteran (thank God he still has his head!)
At the other end of the spectrum, I noted Roy Krontz, a man I have known for the past 37 years. Roy became a Christian soon after we met and I know few men today that I respect more than Roy--a man that walks his talk--a WWII veteran.
Many gave their lives for our political determinations, as well as our national freedom. Many returned home to productive lives and families and we respect them. Yet, I have to wonder at times, what makes them so special. What about countless citizens that invested their lives in our country, our churches, our families, our corporations, our communities?
What makes military service any more patriotic than any other positive investment in the future of our nation? Do we overly glorify war and elevate military service above other national services? As I write, the Air Force Thunderbirds are in town for our annual Balloon Festival; I hear them entertaining the crowd over at Kellogg Airport, and draw a crowd they do!
In her working days, my wife frequently fed them at her establishment and got to know some of them quite well--outstanding young Americans. Now she is elderly and the whine of their jet engines wracks her pain-filled body and I wonder at the horror one must feel as a victim of war and on the receiving end of a machine gun tree-top strafing.
War causes one to do things that one would not otherwise do. It builds hatred and leaves lingering horrors. I once wore the uniform, but would I do it again; I don’t know. What I do know is that since the second Iraq campaign I have observed the ugly side of American politics more closely than before, and I have studied the failed diplomacies of wars dating back to WWI. I have watched the inhumanity of war and the inability of military powers to either prevent or cure war. At the same time, I could not missed the obscene profits made by those who profit from such business (blood money we called it in WWII).
I thank my Heavenly Father that no radical Muslim neighbor can come in and decapitate me, or rape members of my family, or sell us into slavery just because we are lower-class, or Christians, or whatever (I read the stories every day in India, Pakistan, Indonesia et al).
Russian Security cannot come in and prosecute me falsely, as is the case with a Russian business lady in the current news, who dared to challenge the secrecy of a local Russian Security establishment. America is still the one country that values people enough that people will risk their lives to become part of it, and for that reason it deserves to continue its national existence.
I am deeply grateful for our country and for our freedoms to live out our understanding of community, and faith, and worship. I will defend them with my dying breath and I will give others the same respect regardless of color, creed, or culture, with the understanding that we all stand equal in this country and there is no such thing as Sharia, or forced conversion, or no conversion.
People of the Armed Forces deserve the same respect that everyone else gets, no more, no less. We all have a national duty to participate, to respect the human rights of every individual, and to vigorously protect our natural global resources. Above all else, I affirm my devotion to our all-wise, all-knowing, and all powerful Creator and God and the spiritual kingdom of love, grace, and service introduced to us by Jesus, whom I know as The Christ.
“Because He Lives” I will love God supremely and with God’s help I will love my neighbor as myself.
From Warner’s World, I am