It is time to CELEBRATE The United States of America, HOME, Land of the FREE!!!
Last week the celebration began for us in Church. As we sang the great hymns of this nation, rejoicing in it’s greatness and the freedom we and our fellow Americans have enjoyed, I was especially touched by Star-Spangled banner. As I sang with the congregation the description of being there in that ‘dawn’s early light’ to see ‘the star-spangled banner’ yet wave after that most fateful of all fights to find that indeed we were a free nation, and heard once again the story of Francis Scott Key writing this hymn, how drastically and completely the odds were against us but God was with us, the third verse hit me more powerfully than ever before, every line, “Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n -rescued-land Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation! 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!”
Ahhhhh!! I WISH I could share with you even the tiniest portion of the JOY and FREEDOM of my heart this morning!!!
I woke to my husband kneeling beside me to say prayers this morning. Prayers of greatest thanks for this free land we live in, for those that have given their lives or lived their lives in sacrifice to give us this great land, this magnificent nation. This morning’s prayer held the kind of thanks that one cannot fully express with words but one feels enlarging the heart as full as it can hold and still it spills over, and over and over, hoping only for heaven to hear and know of our deepest gratitude.
He kissed me and left to a job he LOVES, a job he was FREE to CHOOSE! – one that he has achieved through inspiration and blessings from on high, super hard work, perseverance, and great schooling available in this great country.
Soon the rest of the house woke to don their little riding clothes. Seven of my little girls, along with 2 of their beloved cousins, headed to the barn – final day of horse camp! This horse-camp was something my twin 18 yr old daughters wanted to do this summer as a business venture for children (& to earn a little money for college) and in this free land they DID it! Their final horse show was absolutely DELIGHTFUL!!!
We came home and the children eagerly decorated their bikes and scooters and rip sticks and the stroller for our own little 4th of July parade with the missionaries this evening. There they were, happy, sun shining, gentle breeze, this gorgeous summer afternoon in the USA, enjoying peace, and safety, happiness, AND FULFILLMENT.
I know that not all parts of America are enjoying this kind of peace and haven on this 4th of July. Neither are all homes in America or elsewhere filled with that freedom and safety and peace. For example, we recently drove through some desolate, burnt-out, ravaged areas of Detroit. These parts of Detroit looked like they had been destroyed by war, from the many, many burnt-out, abandoned houses to the huge, entire office buildings left as skeletons with gaping broken windows scared with graffiti, but it had not been an attack from another country that had destroyed this place and left this black rubble, ugliness, this gaping poverty here. On that same trip we visited Greenfield Village, an extraordinary outdoor part of The Ford Museum. Our hearts and minds were ignited with inspiration and awe at the noble people and places and progress that contributed so much to our nation’s, and the world’s, success and future! Such opposition in one trip, in one nation. What’s the difference? Where does peace and freedom come from? How can we nurture it, sustain it, cultivate it in our own lives, homes, and nations?
A beautiful friend had posted this on facebook this week, and I feel it holds the answer:
“It has been well said that “our greatest national problem is erosion. Not erosion of the soil, but erosion of the national morality.”
The United States of America has been great because it has been free. It has been free because it has trusted in God and was founded upon the principles of freedom set forth in the word of God. This nation has a spiritual foundation. To me, this land has a prophetic history.
In the year 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French historian, came to our country at the request of the French government to study our penal institutions. He also made a close study of our political and social institutions. In less than ten years, de Tocqueville had become world-famous, as the result of the four-volume work that he wrote, entitled Democracy in America. Here is his own stirring explanation of the greatness of America:
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Prophets, Principles and National Survival, compiled by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City, Publishers Press, 1964], p. 60.)
How strong is our will to remain free—to be good?” -Ezra T. Benson
“America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)
That is the pattern of peace and joy and fulfillment for our nation and for each of our lives, our homes, our neighborhoods. Be good. 🙂 God will bless us and be with us, He will SAVE us as we build our lives on His law.
It has brought my grateful heart back to the words of each of the hymns of our nation:
– “God shed his grace on thee”, “God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.” (America the Beautiful)
– “Our Father’s God, to thee, Author of liberty, to thee we sing; Long may our land be bright with freedon’s holy light. Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King!” (“My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”)
– “Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!… And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” (The Star-Spangled Banner)
As we read the words of these stances written by founding fathers and mothers, it is evident that this nation’s greatness and freedom came from God, these people knew that. It is evident to us today that the only way to protect and keep our freedom is by that same formula, relying on God, trusting in God and doing our very, very best to keep His laws, living moral, honest, kind and giving, loving lives, willing to sacrifice our wants and greeds of today for that which is greater for tomorrow, as did our founding fathers. My heart bursts with immense thanks, like the fireworks we can’t wait to see tonight, for our founding fathers who knew this and founded a GREAT NATION upon it! We rejoice in our fellow-countrymen and those the world over that know this and work ever to be and give and protect freedom!!!!
Oh, May that star-spangled banner ever wave o’er the FREE and the BRAVE!- those BRAVE enough to stand up for right and good and be strong in the face of allurements that would lead them to lose all that is worth having. May we BE brave, may we BE ever FREE. God bless America!
We love you America! And we love the Free and the Brave the whole world over!!!
The Hoffman Family
P.S. To share more awesome things I read this week:
As we’ve read the word of God as a family we’ve noticed the pattern throughout scripture that those that keep the commandments of God “prosper in the land”. It says this right many, MANY times from the Old Testament to the New Testament to the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. Here’s just a tiny, little example of the words to us, especially here in America, today:
“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. …
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:10, 12).
I thought this was a fantastic formula for FREEDOM that we all should keep aspiring to DO!
From Ezra T. Benson, a great advocate for our freedom and our nation:
“No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood—human blood—will win it back.
There are some things we can and must do at once if we are to stave off a holocaust of destruction.
First: We must return to worship the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ. He has promised that the righteous will be preserved by His power (see 1 Ne. 22:17). But we must keep the commandments of God. We must pay our tithes and offerings, keep the Sabbath day a holy day, stay morally clean, be honest in all our dealings, and have our family and personal prayers. We must live the gospel.
Second: We must awaken to “a sense of [our] awful situation, because of this secret combination which [is] among [us]” (Ether 8:24). We must not tolerate accommodation with or appeasement toward the false system of Communism. We must demand of our elected officials that we not only resist Communism, but that we will take every measure to prevent its intrusion into this hemisphere. It is vital that we invoke the Monroe Doctrine.
Then we must put our trust in Him who has promised us His protection—and pray that He will intervene to preserve our freedom just as He intervened in our obtaining it in the first place.
Third: We must do as the Lord commanded us by revelation in 1833: “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil” (D&C 98:10).
Men who are wise, good, and honest, who will uphold the Constitution of the United States in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, must be sought for diligently. This is our hope to restore government to its rightful role.
Last: We must study the inspired Constitution and become involved in the political process ourselves. I quote the First Presidency statement that was read in sacrament meetings on Sunday, 1 July 1979: “We encourage all members, as citizens of the nation, to be actively involved in the political process, and to support those measures which will strengthen the community, state, and nation—morally, economically, and culturally” (Letter from the First Presidency, 29 June 1979).
I fully believe that we can turn things around in America if we have the determination, the morality, the patriotism, and the spirituality to do so.”
God bless us all!!