Thank You, U.S. Veterans

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I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.

I am a proud widow and a daughter of military veterans.

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

It makes me sad for all those who have lost their lives due to war.

I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren for they are serving this country as well.  Thank you to each and every one of you.

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My husband, Kenneth, was an United States Army combat veteran, 101st Airborne Division/Co. B 3/506; served in Vietnam, 1968-69 serving from 1967-1970.  Kenneth died this past June 7th of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a recognized type of cancer caused by Agent Orange.  Yes, Kenneth served on the ground fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Agent Orange was definitely present there.

Yes, this next photo is my Kenneth in 1967 when he was going through the U.S. Army Airborne School (or Jump School {as he called it}) as part of the 101st Airborne training in Fort Benning, GA.   (P.S. I wish I had known him then!! : ) )

Kenneth jump school

Kenneth, you were a soldier once…and young, along with so many others in so many wars.  I look at this photo of you and see such a very young man…a boy!  Boys, now girls too, tend to fight the wars, don’t they?

“The Class of 1965 came out of the old America, a nation which disappeared forever in the smoke that billowed off the jungle battlegrounds where we fought and bled. The country which sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” *

In the Prologue of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, the authors were speaking of the Vietnam War.  That is the war my Kenneth fought in.  He came home with what we now call PTSD, but there was no label back then.  They just came home and did the best they could.  Kenneth made it.  I am sorry he fought in that war.  I am sorry we as a nation fought in that war.  I am sorry so many died in that war.  I am just sorry about all wars.  I do not like arguments let alone wars.

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I am sorry that we did not welcome you home as all service men and women deserve.  So I say to you and to all Veterans, Welcome home.

Kenneth in Vietnam

Kenneth, I have always been so proud of you.  I respected you and loved you with my whole being.  Although I did not know you back then, I am so glad and grateful I was blessed to call you my husband for twenty-five years.  Thank you for marrying me and loving me as you did.  You were the best husband and friend to me.  Thank you, Love.  I am so sorry that Lymphoma took over your body though (for my loss).  You are with Jesus now and that is the best news of all!  Praise Him.  Praise the Lord.

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My father was a Navy doctor, a “lifer.”  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the Pacific and then went on to be a part of the post-war Manhattan Project (Bikini, Eniwetok Islands) where radiation exposure took his life by Pancreatic Cancer.  He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years until he died at age 46.

My Daddy died when I was 12.  Thank you, Mama, for loving us through such a difficult season of life, of death, for all of us.

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

Daddy, I miss you so much.  It has been 58 years since you died, yet it could have been yesterday.  I sometimes feel like I am still 12, having that giant Daddy-hole in my heart.  I love you so and wonder at all I missed by God taking you home so early in our lives.  I am glad we had Mama for almost 99 years.  She had a hard row ahead of her with three girls-me just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  But we made it.  We all turned out well.  Daddy, thank you for loving us so.  Thank you for your dedication to the Navy and being a doctor.  You were loved by so many and missed by so many.  I pray I will see you again one day on the other side.  I love you, Your oldest daughter

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

Freedom comes with a huge price…one worthy of a fight…but where do we as the United States of America draw the line.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI, while pondering WWII, especially this weekend as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, how many wars does it take to be free? How many lives?

Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making

peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ephesians 2:14-21

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our/my freedom.  You offered Your Son as the Sacrifice to redeem Your children to You.  I am and will be grateful forever, Abba Father.  May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served and are currently serving this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served. I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls. Protect and heal them, Father. I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, in other areas of this world where they are in harm’s way.  I pray for the families of those who have returned from war injured in one way or another.  Oh God, be with them each and all.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drugs and the cartels who are making these runs.  I lift the military who have been called to our Southern border alongside the Border Patrol.  I pray You give them and the government wisdom and compassion regarding those many who are seeking asylum to a country they hope is a better place to live.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns.  I pray on my knees before You. Thank You for hearing my cries.  May we each turn to You and know that You are God and Father of all.  Amen.

 

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American Flag:  http://wallpapernpictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/american-flag.html

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery/Veterans Day:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/11/11/veterans-day-weekend-fall-color-at-arlington-national-cemetery-photos/?utm_term=.ca70a6b848a1

Private photos from my own collection of Kenneth, Daddy, gravesite at ANC

History Repeating Vietnam/Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial

* Quote: from “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

**  from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

Free in Christ

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I am free.  Christ paid the highest price so that I could be free.  Free to live this life for Him and with Him…free to walk with God, my Creator….free to love, learn to love as He loves, free to care as He cares.

The liberties with which I have gained by choosing Jesus are yours as well.  You are free if you have given your life to Jesus.  Do you believe in the One Who died for your sins, was buried, was resurrected after three days?  Have you asked forgiveness for your sins?  Do you believe in the Trinity…God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  They are One as they are Three.  Have you asked Jesus into your heart?

If ‘yes’ is the answer to these questions, then you join me in being FREE in Christ!

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  Gal 5:1

Living in a country which allows many freedoms is wonderful, yet Christ is Who actually sets us free.

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Yes, the Constitution of the United States gives us many rights and liberties.

Amendment 1:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Amendment 13:  Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Amendment 14:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

Amendment 15:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Amendment 19:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Amendment 26:  The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. 

These are only a few of the rights allowed us as citizens of this country.

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Those reading this from other countries may and may not have these things given to you.  Whether or not, though, believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior gives you a freedom that others cannot claim until they know Jesus.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

 ἐλευθερόω

eleutheroō

to liberate, deliver, make free, set at liberty from the dominion of sin

(This Greek word is the same word in all the New Testament Scriptures I have used here on this post.)

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The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;

To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3

דְּרוֹר

dĕrowr

freedom; hence, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear:—liberty, pure.

(The Old Testament has this Hebrew word of similar meaning.)

 

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Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Once we accept this freedom in Christ, we have much to do and much to live for.  It is our privilege to stand strong in this freedom, whether we live behind bars, under scrutiny, under demeaning people, or living in fear.  It is also our life’s work to project Christ even when we live in a free country.  There are many who do not believe in a god or in God.  There are many who idolize a god, but it leads not to Christ.  Many countries in this world which once saw God as their leader no longer see God as such.  Many countries depend upon people of varying powers or worldliness as their leaders.  Ideologies may not be Christian either in vast parts of this world.  This Christian life is not usually easy, but it is ours as we believe in Christ.  We are made in His image and others are watching in order to catch us doing something they deem as wrong, or doing something they see as Christlike.  They may be making a judgment upon our ways in order to determine their decision about Christ.  So it is our privilege and position to enable others to see Christ in us as we walk in this world.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  Galatians 5:13
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16
 

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:22-23

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Father God, I adore You and am so very grateful that you are in my life. I live under Your wings of power and protection.  You hold me close, lifting me near.  You have granted me this freedom to live for Your sake and not for mine.  You ask me to keep my eyes on You and that is my desire, my goal.  Forgive me when I fail You.  I want to reflect Your Son to this world in which You have placed me.  I want to fly freely.  I have come to know, in this liberty that You have allowed, that I am Yours and Yours alone.  I am free because I am Yours.  For some, that would not be considered free, but I see it as so.  I can fly because of You.  I am Yours and want to live my life in You.  I hold near to You as I learn to be obedient to Your calling for me.  I love You, Lord.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  Romans 8:2

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C.H. Spurgeon Quote/Graphic:  http://www.depravedwretch.com/social-images/

Jesus — Propitiation for My Sins

God, You have blessed me with Your Word, Your Truth.  You teach me as I walk with You and learn Your ways.  You are showing me that by my sins, Your wrath is real.  Yet, by my sins, Your love and mercy and grace are strong and beautiful.  You sent Your Son for me.  You love me so.

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?

You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.   Hebrews 2:5-9
hebrews2Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God

Jesus, our Salvation

Jesus, our All

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  Hebrews 2:17

ἱλάσκομαι

hilaskomai

to conciliate

to atone for (sin)

be propitious:—be merciful, make reconciliation for

propitiation (n) prō-pi-shē-ā-shǝn–

the act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person

atonement or atoning sacrifice

Jesus…

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:2

Jesus…

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Romans 3:23-26

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Jesus…

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:10

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…’Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live…

from “In Christ Alone”

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Father, You could be so angry, so wrathful towards me.  I am a sinner.  But You see through me and know that I need a Savior.  I need Salvation.  You are Just.  You came to me through Your beautiful Gift, Your Son, Jesus, Who delivered me from my sins.  Through repentance and belief, I have been set free.  You are Merciful.  You have granted so much to me which I take for granted sometimes.  I am sorry, Father, for I forget all too often of the many gifts which I am allowed.  Yet, I do not forget that I can fly free from the shackles of sin because of Jesus, Your Son, Your Son’s death on the Cross for me, for others such as I.  Your Grace and Your Truth have been showered over me.  I am ever so grateful, Father.  “Here in the death of Christ I live….”  I live.  Thank You for this precious Gift. 

In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen. 

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Graphic/Photo:  http://pictures.agodman.com/spiritual-quotes/hebrews-29-but-we-see-jesus-crowned-with-glory-and-honor/

Graphic:  http://lifegatefellowship.com/wp/?m=201309

“In Christ Alone” by KOCH, DONALD A. / CRAIG, ANDREW SHAWN; Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Memorial Day 2012

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Like warriors they charge;

like soldiers they scale the wall.

They march each on his way;

they do not swerve from their paths. 

Joel 2:7

They do not swerve from their paths.  United States soldiers are obedient, trained, dutiful, and fight for freedom.  Let us not take what these men and women do and are for granted.  They need our prayers, our constant support, and ties back to their homeland.  Whether they fight in a war that we agree with or in one that we oppose, they are the soldiers of the United States of America.  Stand by them in every way possible.

Father, please hold each one closely in Your protective arms.  Show Yourself strong on their behalf as they do their duty on foreign soil or here.  Send Your angels to surround each one as they fight, as they teach, as they destroy explosive ordinances, as they train foreign armies, in all they do.  I thank You for each person who volunteers to go into the service in these times.  I thank You for giving them abilities to do what they must do.  No matter what the job, please be with them each and all.  If they do not know You, Father, nor Your Son, Jesus, I pray that through all of this, they will come to You.  Draw them near.  Place one of Your Christian soldiers with them.  Give that soldier boldness to share You with the other soldiers.  (I just read something from WWII where someone said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  Father, let there be no atheists in Iraq, in Afghanistan, especially among the USA soldiers, in those foxholes, or tents, or buildings, or desert.)  If natives are near our Christian soldiers, I pray Your light shine from each one to these Iraqis, these Afghans, these Pakistanis, these Libyans.  Father, I pray on my knees, lifting my hands to You for every one of our soldiers. 

The Lord utters His voice

before His army,

for His camp is exceedingly great;

he who executes His word is powerful.

For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; 

who can endure it? 

Joel 2:11

Jesus, I pray Your angels surround these men and women as they serve.  I thank You that You are with so many in their spirits.  I thank You that keep them close to You in all types of situations.  If they serve at home, as they are on USA soil between deployments, care for them mentally and physically as well as spiritually.  Once they are home for good, please provide the stability they need to face their lives with family, friends, and life home again without war.  Especially, hold the soldiers close who have had brain injuries, physical traumas, fears and mental traumas.  Make them whole again, Lord.  Please.  Thank You for protecting my Kenneth while he fought in VietNam, for bringing him home safely and allowing us to meet and marry years later.  May we never, NEVER, treat our soldiers the way we treated our VietNam veterans upon their return home.  Thank You for keeping Jim safe through his two deployments to Iraq and one to Bahrain.  Lord, may we find ways to help our men and women today as they return home so that they find their way to Your safe haven, are able to live and love safely in their home country.


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 “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, 

and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?”

   Matthew 26:53

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For those who have lost their lives in battle, while serving this country, Father, I pray You care for the families, the children, the wives, the mothers and fathers of each and every soldier, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  O, God, why do we have war?  I lost my Daddy many years ago after his safe return from the Pacific during WWII, and then his safe return from Operation Crossroads and Operation Greenhouse (pieces of the Manhattan Project after the War), yet unknown consequences from radiation were to take him from me, from my sisters, from my mom.  You know, Lord.  I was only 12.  I still miss him today.  Would You hold me longer?  Rock me to sleep those nights when I miss him so?  Care for all of us who have lost someone through war or military maneuvers of some sort.  I pray, Lord, from the depths of my heart.  Each soldier is a gift for the gifts they give to us through their duties, through their stance, their representation of America, through who they are.  Thank You for every one of them.  In the Strong Name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Credits:Flag photo: taken by me (5/2009)
two photos from VietNam Veterans’ Memorial State Park @ Angel Fire, NM (taken by me 10/2011)Arlington Cemetery: Remember {{Information |Description={{en|1=Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008. }} |Source=Own work by uploader |Author=Remember |Date=May 26, 2008 |Permission=Public Domain

No…It is Not Free!

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I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.
 
I am a proud wife and a daughter of military veterans.  
This day makes me stand proud.  
It makes me sad 
for all those who lost their lives due to war.
 
 
I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren 
for they are serving this country as well.   
Thank you to each and every one of you. 
What can I say?  I can only weep with her for I have been in this woman’s shoes for my Daddy.
 
 
This link below is a moving and beautifully artistic slide show with music from Arlington  National Cemetery.  I invite you to join me there.
 
My husband is an Army combat veteran, served in Vietnam.  I am grateful that he came home. 
I am proud of you, Kenneth.  I respect you and love you.  We were
young back then and did not understand all the ways of this world (and
still don’t.)  I did not even know you yet, but I am glad I do now. 
Thank you for marrying me and loving me so beautifully.  



I lost my Daddy when I was 12.  He was a Navy doctor, a lifer — he
surely would have been.  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the
Pacific and then went on to be a part of the Manhattan Project/Bikini
and Eniwetok Islands where radiation exposure eventually took his
life.   He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years though, until he
died at 46 years old. 

You loved us so, Daddy.  I miss you, and so do Mommy and Nancy and Annette.  
I love you, Daddy. 
 
Freedom is never FREE. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by
abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he
might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making
peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

Ephesians 2:14-21

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Have you ever heard about Wreaths Across America?  
This company has been honoring our fallen soldiers by placing wreaths upon the graves since 1992.  It began small and has grown to almost every Veterans Cemetery in the USA.  Check out their story:  Remember 

 

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

(1 Peter 2:16 ESV)

 

May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served.  I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls.  Protect and heal them, Father.  I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are yet in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other areas of this world that are placing them in harm’s way.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drug cartels coming out of Mexico.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns and I pray on my knees before You.  Thank You for hearing my cries, seeing my tears.  Amen.

 

Photo 1: taken by ~ linda

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Lord Almighty, I am grateful for this country in which I live.  I am especially thankful for the men and women who have fought and are fighting this very day for the freedoms we have.  I thank those who fought, not by picking up arms, but by supplying the needs for those who did pick up arms, for those who pray for them, for those who wait at home for their loved ones to return, to those who raise the next generation, often alone for months or years at a time.  I thank You, Father, for holding each one of Your children who lost their life in battle to make us free.  I thank You for healing, caressing, and caring for those who have been injured in battle.  Father, no matter what this country looks like on the outside today, July 4th, 2011, You know the hearts of Yours.  You know where we are headed and we don’t.  I am grateful that You are in control and have the world in Your hands.  I thank You for giving me the freedom to read Your Word, to pray to You and in Your Son’s Holy Name.  I am so grateful.  Ever so grateful.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

“E Pluribus Unum” … “out of many, one”.  The United States of America is a nation of many peoples from all over the world.  The United States of America is that melting pot.  At times over the last 235 years, our country has stood together as “One Nation, Under God”.  Could it be again, dear Lord?  Could we stand together as a people?  One people?  Your people?  We are in Your hands, Heavenly Father.  If it be Your will, Lord.  Amen and Amen. 

 

Civil War song by Julia Ward Howe 1861 (or 1862)
Music by several and true authority is questionable.

America

America the Beautiful
lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates
music by Samuel A. Ward 
when words and music combined, published 1910
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
 
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

 

 

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
 
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”   John 15:12-13
 
My thankfulness is focused upon men and women who have fought for my freedom, who have died in battle for this precious freedom, freedom to worship and honor God, to learn and be educated, to dwell in this land which I love, to have privileges that very few others in other lands have.  
To each one, I swell with pride.
Thank you –
… to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the Name of Jesus the Christ for my freedom to worship
… to the men and women who have sacrificed their very lives in the name of freedom for the United States of America
… to the men and women in uniform today fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq; stationed in other areas around the world
… to the families here at home while their loved ones are in the midst of war zones, stationed far away
… for the American flag and the country for which it stands
… for our Pledge of Allegiance with four precious words … “One nation under God”   (May we continue to honor You, God, in this country, remembering Who brought us here and Who reigns over our lives and our hearts.  Please LORD, forgive us for our trespasses, our misalliances, our ingratitude.)
… for this beautiful song with such powerful words, if we would only read and sing the other verses, understanding just what they say
… to my Daddy who served in WWII as a doctor/surgeon on the Pacific front; worked as part of the Manhattan Project, eventually to go to Bikini Island for Operation Crossroads (1946) and Eniwetok Island for Operation Greenhouse (1951) as a “Radiological Safety Officer”; served in the US Navy for 20 years as a doctor of medicine until his early death from Pancreatic cancer due to radiation exposure.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  He and others just did not know! But my father was so proud to serve this country and I am proud of him. 
…  to my Daddy whom I was blessed to have as my earthly father for almost 13 years of my life; his love and character truly were showered upon me.  My mother has said over the years that I am a lot like him. That makes me happy.  I miss you, Daddy.
…  to Mom, for her love to her children, raising us alone after Daddy died (we were 12, 10, 7)
… to my husband, Kenneth, who served in the VietNam War in the 101st Airborne; grateful he is here today;  and I am proud of him too.
… to Kenneth, for your love and kindness

LORD, each one has laid their life down for me in one way or another, whether in battle, in research, in raising children, in caring for family while the other was/is away at war.  I thank You for each one.  I wish we did not have to have war.  So many lives are affected.  One day, my LORD, there will be no more war.  I look forward to the day when the lion and the lamb will lie together in peace.  Hallelujah!  LORD, I praise You for all that You have done through these special people, through Your works, through the mighty hand that drew this world.  Forgive us for our arrogance and spiteful ways, for the unloving spirit we hold against others, for hatred and violence.  Oh, forgive us, Father.  Guide us and direct us in all we are and do.  May we be obedient to You, our Father.  Amen.  

photos: from Arlington National Cemetery website – http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/index.htm