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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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At the Heart of July 4 Celebrations

At the Heart of July 4 Celebrations

By Amy Patsch

Patriotism: Love of and devotion to one’s country (The American Heritage Dictionary). This week we celebrate the founding of the United States of America by the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We do this with parades, fireworks, picnics and baseball games.

Our Founding Fathers were brilliant, well-educated men with a vision for a country like none other. This country is an experiment in government that has survived almost 250 years.

The test of patriotism is generally thought to be that we love our country enough to fight to save it. My husband and I both served in the military, and we now know several men serving our country proudly in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. We all love this country enough to fight to keep it.

Our Fourth of July ceremonies are vastly different from those held on other patriotic holidays, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. One honors those of the military who never came home from war, and the other honors those who have worn the uniform proudly. Both days are solemn remembrances. But on July 4th we have very joyful celebrations. We remember those brilliant men who had that vision for the “great experiment,” and we celebrate the freedoms we have here in the United States of America.

Along with declaring our freedoms the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These rights are declared in our very founding papers to be our God-given rights. What a purely magnificent phrase to put in the Declaration of Independence. We are God’s creation, and as such He has given us life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness.

Myself, I hope these United States last for many years to come because our nation provides its citizens with these written rights. We might go to another country and assume we have the same rights, but we very well could be mistaken.

Recently I read of more than one person in England who was arrested for praying — in their minds. They were standing within a certain distance of an abortion center not saying a word, not moving their lips, but praying for the yet unborn babies. The police approached these people and asked if they were praying. When they said “Yes,” they were arrested. We can hardly imagine living in a county where what is going on in our mind might put us in jail, and that is because we have liberty.

I love our flag – Old Glory – the real red, white and blue flag. I know there are variations being flown, but Old Glory is my flag. I cry when I sing The Star Spangled Banner. I see the warfare, I see the bombs bursting in air, I see the tattered flag still there — it makes me proud to be an American.

Even with all of my patriotism I love my God much more than I love my country. He has blessed these United States for many years, and I pray that His mercy will be with us for many more. As I watch Christian revivals and awakenings all across our county I have great hope for the future generations, that they will live the values of Jesus in their Christian walks.

I pray often for these new and renewed Christians that they will seek deep roots in their faith, that they will read and know the words of God in our Bible, and that they will live out their lives just as Jesus taught us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is my hope for our nation because it is only God that can guide us wisely and on the right course to see the United States of America remains a great country. By great country I do not mean military greatness, but greatness of heart. Our country has always come to the aid of other countries that need us, whether it be food or relief from oppression; our country’s love and caring has been felt throughout the world.

Because of our freedoms we have numerous Christian organizations that feed, clothe, provide clean drinking water, help in times of disasters and minister to the souls at home and in foreign lands. It all starts here in the U.S.A. Our freedoms allow us to bless others with the gifts God has given us.

May God continued to bless America, the land of the free and home of the brave.

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.  Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com.

Columnist

Amy Patsch writes religious and faith-based opinion content for the Cape May County Herald.

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