Monday, July 04, 2005

4th of July--Location: Iraq

How amazing to be here as Iraq gains its independence. Freedom in America cost the blood of valiant souls before our time. I believe that at any time, any place, liberty commands a high price. Then, as now, there are those who complained or wanted to stick with the Status Quo in the original colonies and sided against Independence. Those who side against freedom were wrong then and are wrong now.

How amazing, and I can only speak for our group at church, to hear their testimonies of grace. Today in church I heard soldiers thank God for their protection. I heard them pray for the Iraqi people, that they might know independence and peace. Then I heard soldiers confess that despite the hardships, they feel they are supposed to be here, and that they are trying to do the right thing.

One soldier that spoke today got engaged just before being called up to deploy; his fiancé waits. Another laments that his daughter is growing up without him. Others were called away from things dear to their souls. Not their first choice, but they answered the call to duty. They serve well. They want to serve the people of Iraq as well as America and pray for both those that appreciate their presence and those that hate them. Who better to trust with this arduous task?

It is groups like this that make me proud to be an American. I think their hearts have been softened by danger, purified in some ways by the heat of war, lifted to purposes greater than self, and ennobled by the fate that has befallen them. I feel many are of the salt of the earth. And you won’t find a better sermon about these at worship and their work than in the National Anthem:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

Francis Scott Key


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