Clara Barton American Red Cross

On this day in 1881, Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross at age 60. She went on to lead the organization for the next 23 years.

During the American Civil War, Clara earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield” for the comfort and care she provided for sick and wounded soldiers. She read to them, wrote letters for them, listened to them, and, perhaps most importantly, she prayed with them. Then, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war.

Also during the war, Barton brought supplies and support to the all-black Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which had been recruited by Frederick Douglass. Shortly after the war, the two met and built a supportive friendship. Douglass subsequently became a signatory of the original Articles of Incorporation for the American Red Cross.

The need and the strength

The following quote from Clara Barton captures the spirit of our lost founding, from the Declaration, the prayer proclamations, and the perception of Providence:

“You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it. Then God gives the strength and the thing that seemed impossible is done.”

 

Clara Barton American Red Cross

NASA Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Earthrise

On this day in 1970, Apollo 13, the third lunar landing mission, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On April 13th, Commander Jim Lovell was to become the fifth man to walk on the moon, but an exploding “Oxygen tank No. 2” had other plans. As a result, we have all heard him say, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Mission control aborted the landing.

“In the beginning…”

Now, I invite you to hear Command Module Pilot Lovell and his fellow Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis on Christmas Eve in 1968, during a live broadcast from lunar orbit. Lovell’s is the second voice you’ll hear. Their message brings perspective to a turbulent year in American history:

Video courtesy of NASA.gov Video

NASA Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Earthrise

 

Abigail Adams "Remember the Ladies"

Abigail Adams and John Adams are renowned for their prolific correspondence. In fact, they wrote each other thousands of letters.

So, to write something along the lines of “On this day in 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams…” is almost a given.

However, in this particularly noteworthy letter, Abigail urges Mr. Adams and the Continental Congress to “Remember the Ladies” in the battle for independence:

“I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Beings

She goes on writing:

“Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem [sic] Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”

Abigail Adams is one of only two women to have been both wives and mothers of American presidents.

Can you name the other?

Abigail Adams "Remember the Ladies"

Sam Houston tomb inscription

On March 2, 1793, Sam Houston is born in Virginia.

The celebrated liberator of Texas and the first president of the Republic of Texas made it clear that Texas was to become part of the United States.

Sam Houston served for 14 years as a U.S. senator, where he argued for Native American rights.

His antislavery beliefs did not align with the southern ideology of Texas, so he resisted secession from the Union during the 1850s and refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy when Texas voted to break from the Union in 1861.

Then, after a brief retirement from public service he died in 1863.

Interestingly, March 2 is also the day that Texas declared independence from Mexico.

Attribute Alliteration

Lastly, the inscription on his tomb reads:

A Brave Soldier. A Fearless Statesman.
A Great Orator—A Pure Patriot.
A Faithful Friend, A Loyal Citizen.
A Devoted Husband and Father.
A Consistent Christian—An Honest Man.

 

Sam Houston tomb inscription

Johnny Cash US Air Force

On this day in 1932, legendary singer Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas. In 1950 he enlisted in the United States Air Force.

The values of our founding were not lost on this American icon.

For example, here’s a bit of his “Song of the Patriot”:

“I don’t believe in violence, I’m a God fearing man
But I’d stand up for my country just as long as I can stand
‘Cause Im a flag waving patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man”

“A real man”

Johnny Cash believed “the Bible, the whole Bible, to be the infallible, indisputable Word of God,” and said this of his faith:

“Being a Christian isn’t for sissies. It takes a real man to live for God — a lot more man than to live for the devil, you know? If you really want to live right these days, you gotta be tough.”
“If you’re going to be a Christian, you’re going to change. You’re going to lose some old friends, not because you want to, but because you need to.”

Johnny Cash US Air Force

Ronald Reagan Billy Graham Presidential Medal of Freedom

On February 23rd, 1983 President Ronald Reagan awarded Billy Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal is bestowed by the President and is the highest civilian award of the United States, recognizing those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

As President Ronald Reagan prepared to present the medal to Reverend Graham, he made the following remarks:
“Reverend William “Billy” Graham’s untiring evangelism has spread the word of God to every corner of the globe, and made him one of the most inspirational spiritual leaders of the Twentieth Century. As a deeply committed Christian, his challenge to accept Jesus Christ has lifted the hearts, assuaged the sorrows and renewed the hopes of millions. Billy Graham is an American who lives first and always for his fellow citizens. In honoring him, we give thanks for God’s greatest spiritual gifts—faith, hope, and love.”

He added: “Billy Graham’s contribution to the well-being of mankind is literally immeasurable. Millions of lives across the globe have been enriched because of his good work. The world is a better place because of Billy Graham.”

Honor and humility

In response to receiving this high honor, Billy Graham said this:
“All that I have been able to do I owe to Jesus Christ. When you honor me, you are really honoring Him. Any honors I have received I accept with a sense of inadequacy and humility, and will reserve the right to hand all of these someday to Christ when I see him, face-to-face.”

Finally, Billy Graham is one of just four private citizens to lay in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

Ronald Reagan Billy Graham Presidential Medal of Freedom

John Glenn Presidential Medal of Freedom

On this day in 1962, John Glenn is launched into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first orbital flight by an American astronaut.

On February 23 that same year, President John F. Kennedy visited him at Cape Canaveral. Glenn later addressed Congress and received a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

Later, On October 29, 1998, nearly four decades after his famous orbital flight, the 77-year-old Glenn became the oldest human ever to travel in space. In 1999, he retired from the U.S. Senate after four consecutive terms in office for the state of Ohio.

“Look out…”

During an interview in November of 1998 Glenn said:
“I pray every day and I think everybody should. I don’t think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and look out at the Earth from this vantage point. We’re not so high compared to people who went to the moon and back. But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”

President Barack Obama presents former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States Senator John Glenn with a Medal of Freedom, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, during a ceremony at the White House in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Official Portrait of President Reagan

On this day in 1911, Ronald Reagan, the 33rd Governor of California and the 40th President of the United States is born in Tampico, Illinois.

So, to recognize his birthday, here are three of Our posts featuring profound words from “The Great Communicator”:

http://ourlostfounding.com/i-owe-my-life-to-god/

http://ourlostfounding.com/if-we-ever-forget/

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Daniel Webster

On this day in 1782, American statesman Daniel Webster is born in what is now Franklin, New Hampshire. Webster was an attorney, a member of the House of Representatives, and a Massachusetts Senator. In addition, he served as Secretary of State for three Presidents, including Millard Fillmore, John Tyler, and William Henry Harrison.

Daniel Webster is considered one of the greatest orators in American history. For example, his “Second Reply to Hayne” in 1830 is regarded as one of the greatest speeches in senate history. Then, his famous, controversial, three and a half hour “Seventh of March” speech in 1850 helped delay the Civil War.

So, here is a collection of a few other famous, brief, yet powerful quotes from Webster:

First, when asked “What is the most sobering thought that ever entered your mind?” Webster replied, “My personal accountability to God.”

Also, on December 22, 1820, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing at Plymouth Rock, Webster said:

“[O]ur ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits….Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens…

[L]et us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”

“His Word” and “his works”

“If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”

“If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

Daniel Webster

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial MLK

On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill designating a federal holiday to recognize Dr. King. We observe it on the third Monday in January so it falls close to his birthday.

Upon signing the bill, Reagan remarked:
“[M]ost important, there was not just a change of law; there was a change of heart. The conscience of America had been touched. Across the land, people had begun to treat each other not as blacks and whites, but as fellow Americans.

But traces of bigotry still mar America. So, each year on Martin Luther King Day, let us not only recall Dr. King, but rededicate ourselves to the Commandments he believed in and sought to live every day: Thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. And I just have to believe that all of us—if all of us, young and old, Republicans and Democrats, do all we can to live up to those Commandments, then we will see the day when Dr. King’s dream comes true, and in his words, “All of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, ‘… land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.'”

The Guide to a Greater Purpose

In 1955, Dr. King offered sound guidance to protestors then, and now:

“Let conscience be your guide” … [O]ur actions must be guided by the deepest principles of our Christian faith. Love must be our regulating ideal. Once again we must hear the words of Jesus echoing across the centuries: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.”

King’s legacy as a leader endures because of Who he followed:

Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial MLK

George Washington first State of the Union address

On this day in 1790, President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address. Washington delivered the speech to Congress at Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City.

As was fitting for the new nation, Washington’s brief address stands as the shortest State of the Union address ever. What follows are a few excerpts from  to his “Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives.”

Within our reach

“Still further to realize [your constituents’] expectations and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach will in the course of the present important session call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention that of providing for the common defense will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined;”

Sure and secure

“Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. …To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways… by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights;… to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness – cherishing the first, avoiding the last… .

Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the legislature.”

Today, as during our founding, may we again seek the blessings of Providence through “exertion of [our] patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.”

George Washington first State of the Union address