Although it’s Labor Day and we bid unofficial farewell to summer, I won’t be writing on the origins of the federal holiday, labor unions, or President Grover Cleveland’s politics of appeasement which failed to get him reelected.
Instead, I’ll be writing a bit of a personal post as I bid farewell to a bewildering month of August. In short, we lost our pre-born daughter after seven months in the womb; one week later we embarked on a weeklong Disney World vacation with extended family that had been planned since February.
Through it all, we have marveled at God’s handiwork, His divine timing, and we have felt His mercy. So, while it has certainly been a trying time, our faith has been strengthened, knowing we have nowhere else more vital to turn. This experience offers a clear parallel for the remainder of this post.
Unfurling the “Star-Spangled Banner”
Now, given what was apparently newsworthy while I was on hiatus at the house of that magical mouse, and its pertinence to the shirt I intend to produce next week, let’s turn our attention to the fallout from one man’s decision to sit, or kneel, but not stand during Our national anthem.
Given my status as a veteran, and as the founder of a company such as this, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to comment on this contemporary conundrum.
The double-standard on amendments and the freedom of conscience vs. hurt feelings aside, it seems that his disrespectful, yet rightful decision (no argument there) to take a different posture eventually led some to question the very validity of Our national anthem. This stems from an interpretation of arguably ambiguous lyrics from the third stanza of the “Star-Spangled Banner” written by an inherently flawed (as we all are) Francis Scott Key. It seems many Americans did not even know there was more than the first stanza, with which we are all familiar.
Still, it’s great that people are ‘unfurling’ the Banner and learning more about American history in the process. That’s why I started Our Lost Founding, because I think it all leads us to the ultimate, unquestionable truth found in the fourth, yes a fourth, stanza:
“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Here’s the artwork for the aforementioned shirt:
As we come down on either side of the issue of the anthem and the appropriate posture to take, let us, with our national motto “In God We Trust” in mind, consider the pertinence of the words of Abraham Lincoln from his second inaugural address, toward the end of the Civil War:
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds… .”
Thankfully, Scripture offers us a powerful way “to bind up the nation’s wounds”:
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Next, referring to my time at Disney World, I must say that I was impressed by the cascade of patriotic patrons wearing Captain America t-shirts. Sure, I’d like to see them all in Our Lost Founding t-shirts, but I am hopeful nonetheless. You may recall that toward the end of Captain America: Civil War a disillusioned Steve Rogers drops his shield, presumably abandoning his identity as Captain America.
From time to time, frustrated with our country and/or its government or history, we all may ‘drop our shield’ in a sense as we struggle with our American identity. It seems that’s what Colin has done, as he drops to a knee. However, just as Steve Rogers picked it up again (at least in the comics) to stand for a just cause, we too must do the same, because, “conquer we must, when our cause it is just.”
In God is Our Trust
Still, inseparably“In God is our trust” because as President Lincoln correctly stated: “The Almighty has His own purposes.”
Obviously, the flag represents so much more than imperfect conditions, historic or current, in a country inhabited by imperfect people from all over the world. It represents the idea and the ideals of this great American experiment as laid out in Our Founding documents, and those who shed blood to defend it.
Of course, these too were penned by imperfect men, yet striving to realize the self-evident truths “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.”
Without trust in a sovereign Creator, of course distrust and disillusionment reign as we focus on flaws and failings rather than Our faithful foundation. As you will see in all of my previous posts, unfurling our history underscores the trust our founders had in ‘Divine Providence.’ We are right to trust, too. Since the beginning of time, the evil one has made himself known to us by his attempts to cause us to question truth.
Besides, it is with the shield of faith that we can thwart the evil one.
In the wake of the foolish movement to escort God out of the American public square, it seems that there is a foolhardy attempt wash away the sins of our collective past by sanitizing our history. I know of only one Way we can do that.