Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
My family and friends back home have never seen eye to eye with me when it comes to many subjects; in fact more than a few conversations over the past few years have left me frustrated and sometimes in tears. So it was unusual when a recent phone conversation with my mother turned to wars without getting heated. We talked about differences between our generations during the times of WWII and the wars now.
Although a child during the Second World War, she remembers having to save the tin wrappers from gum and her older sisters having to save the same from their cigarette packs. She also remembers her sisters having to draw a line on the back of their legs to make it look like they were wearing nylons. We talked about how so many people now, both young and old, don’t have to think about, or sacrifice anything to the war cause anymore. The only ones sacrificing are those who go off to fight and the families they leave behind. Sadly, too many have either forgotten or have never been taught what sacrifice is.
A few months ago I made a video, trying to thank our military people for the many sacrifices they have made, including so many seemingly small things which all of us take for granted every day. All who have served have given much; many have gone through being held as a Prisoner of War or gone Missing in Action, going through things which none of us could imagine. Still countless others have given the ultimate, paid with their lives, much in the example of Christ, to give their lives so others can live.
As it has been with me lately, the conversation with my mother made my mind wander farther back, thinking of history and how it can be applied to our time. Thinking of all the sacrifices made, given for all of us, for our freedom, made me think of pledges made over 200 years ago.
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Each man and those who were fighting for the same knew the incredible odds against them. They knew the dangers each faced, making them marked men, seen as traitors in the eyes of George III. Benjamin Franklin knew it when he stated, “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
These men made a public pledge: “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 Fortune and our Sacred Honor.”
Throughout history, as well as today, it’s easier to sit back, grumble and “put up with it.” It usually takes a lot to make people uncomfortable enough to do something to try and change circumstances. Our Founders didn’t enter into their decisions lightly; they tried every option before laying everything on the line. Our Founders dealt with ever-increasing taxes and grievances, but with no representation–and they’d had enough. When King George III revoked the Charter of Massachusetts Bay, the people of the colonies saw this as an act of war. The Charter had been a guarantee to all of the people’s religious and civil liberties, and the King was taking them away.
George Washington said, “Unhappy is it to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast and that once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternatives! But can a virtuous man hesitate his choice?”
Patrick Henry implored the men of the House of Burgess in perhaps the most famous speech of American History in which he concluded, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
Thomas Paine wrote in his essay called American Crisis, “but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretense as he.”
Our Founders knew exactly what they were doing. In essence it all came down to what General Washington believed to be the only choices when he and a few hundred tired and worn soldiers made their way across the icy waters of the Delaware River that long ago Christmas night. Hoping against little hope to capture Trenton from British allies, the Hessians, Washington knew that it would be either “Victory or death”.
Those who signed, those who fought for America’s independence, pledged and gave much for freedom. Those who have fought ever since have given so much to preserve that freedom, and more continue in that fight still.
My love and gratitude will never cease for those who have given me freedom. I see daily glimpses of what is given by them.
I wonder; what I can pledge? I wonder what I can sacrifice not only to help preserve freedom for my family and friends, but for those who have given it to me. I may not be a soldier, but I have found a fighting spirit in me that is willing to do something. People wonder at my wisdom of becoming a citizen at such a time as this. The reason is because now I can fight alongside my fellow Americans as an American. Not all are meant to be active or to lead; I don’t know yet what my role may be, but in such a time as this, I do believe I am meant for more than just sitting back and “putting up with it” while others continue to fight for me. I cannot let this country, its freedom that they have given me die without fighting to preserve it.
Will I pledge my life? I trust in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. To follow Him means persecution, which other than name-calling and some hateful remarks, I’ve not faced yet. I will wait upon Him to let me know what direction He has planned for me, and if it means giving my life, especially to honor Him and to save another, I am willing. I have no fortune, nor material wealth, but I will give what I do have, time, a heart to encourage, a pen (or keyboard) to wield, and I pledge all to do whatever I can to help change the course of late, and help retain our God given rights, and fight for our Constitution. To help return our country to the Constitutional Republic as it was fought for and given.
Whatever honor I have, I hope it is given to Christ, and to those who have and still sacrifice so much and who have given me this country to live in. Whatever is right and true, I will do my best to do. It Is a privilege to be an American and I will do my best and give my most to be worthy of the privilege given to me. On my honor, I give my pledge.