United we stand, together

Published 4:55 am Wednesday, July 4, 2018

All over our great nation, people are celebrating Independence Day. Many community streets fill with the smell of back yard barbecues and the sound of children’s laughter. As the sunlight fades from the sky and stars begin to twinkle, an array of fireworks erupts reminding us of Francis Scott Key’s words, “the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Each time I hear these words, I feel honored to have been born an American.

Even with all the problems our country is currently experiencing, I feel blessed and humbled to call America my home. Our country was founded by men who unabashedly sought God’s protection and direction. In fact, the Declaration of Independence specifically refers to God four times. The last sentence of this document states, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The original 13 states have expanded over the course of our history into our current 50 states. The United States has sovereignty over 14 territories, which occasionally leads to the misunderstanding that we have 52 states. The District of Columbia is a federal district, not a state. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, and also is not a state.

This morning, while attending a small country church for my grandson’s Bible school commencement, we sang the Star Spangled Banner along with many other rousing patriotic hymns. The theme of the message that ensued was the importance of unity in our churches and families. Not many things are more distressing than a group of people unable to come together and agree on the basic premise that we are all entitled to our own opinions. The only thing this lack of civility accomplishes is arguing and hurt feelings.

When I get together with family and friends for hot dogs and watermelon on the Fourth of July, my thoughts don’t automatically go to our nation’s founding fathers and their hopes for our nation. But this year, as I celebrate with my friends, I’ll pray for unity in the United States — we need it so very badly. The dissention in our country breaks my heart — not because we disagree on issues, but the pure hatred that some spew against anyone who dares to disagree with them goes against human decency. It certainly is not honorable.

As recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.