Thursday, July 3, 2008

July Challenge - Patriotism


So everything is packed and I am ready to head out shortly - taking our kids to my sister's home near Milwaukee for a long 4th of July weekend. This has become an annual event for us. My sister is the only one in my family with kids near the same age as ours.

The layout above may be familiar - it was published in Memory Makers last July, and has pictures from the parade in 2006. I love the July 4th parade in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. I have not seen one ever as large or as well done. Most impressively are the many wars and veterans represented. Even the Revolutionary War is represented with reenactors. Our son is war history buff, with WWII being his favorite subject to study. If you ask him what his favorite part of the parade was the Pearl Harbor survivors - probably a half dozen of them. Several rode in a vehicle, understandably. But there were three that marched. One man was so thin I wondered how he had the muscle to do it, but he did, and he stood erect and marched proudly. It still brings tears to my eyes as I remember that image.

All of our military veterans, and those currently fighting for our freedoms on desert soil and jungle undergrowth - ALL are risking their lives so that we may enjoy freedom. Unless you have been abroad, especially to countries of African or Asia, you really have no idea how good we have it here in United States. No, I have not been there - but I have missionary friends who have. I have seen pictures, heard stories, and I hear stories daily of those thrown in jail for exercising a right that we can carry out on U.S. soil without retribution. I can speak out against my government, but I don't - no matter who is president, because our elected officials deserve respect and prayer on their behalf. We can travel anywhere, eat plentiful, and worship. Yes, worship. It's important to me, and here in the U.S. there are many religions with the freedom to worship. But in many countries, Christians are not allowed to worship openly amongst the other religions of Buddha and Islam. Isn't it interesting that Christianity is considered a western religion even though it began in the mid-East? Hmmm, don't think I ever thought about that before.

This holiday weekend I urge you for a moment to stop and consider all the things you are able to do that others cannot do without fear of imprisonment. Think about the men and women who are at this very moment, risking their lives for YOUR freedoms, and mine. Think about the many families who worry every day their loved one is in harm's way - but they know it is for the cause of freedom. Support our troops! Don't belittle what they are doing by anti-war statements and angry outbursts - they believe in what they are doing. I am not asking you to agree with the war, that's for sure. But anger does not solve anything...and instead I would ask that you lift up each soldier, their families, miltary and ALL government leaders in prayer. Ask God to give them discernment in their decisions and keep them our soldiers can come home to their families.

I kind of feel like I just stepped down off a soapbox...whew!! Obviously I feel strongly about our freedom and the sacrifices made for us. This month at Kjoi Studios my inspiration challenge is about PATRIOTISM. Everyone is a is not a United States verb, but one that describes everyone who has a love for their country. There were so many great quotes on patriotism that I had a hard time choosing, so you are getting lots of choices. (LOL)

[P]atriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. ~Adlai Stevenson

A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. ~George William Curtis

Love your country. Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him. ~Giuseppe Mazzini

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

OK - I admit that song brings tears to my eyes everytime, especially if I am looking at the stars and stripes!

Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

We need an America with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit. ~Hubert H. Humphrey

May I never wake up from the American dream. ~Carrie Latet

A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works. ~Bill Vaughan

If you get a layout done please share it in the Inspiration Gallery at Kjoi Studios and you will be entered in a drawing to win a $5 gift certificate to visit the prize vault at Kjoi. Show your patriotism - I look forward to seeing what you create!

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