National holidays are moments of celebration. Independence Day is perhaps the greatest of these, an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate what has made America great. The American experiment deserves more than celebration, however. Each fourth that passes allows us the chance to reflect on and remember what has made this all possible.
Along this line of thought, I offer the following Independence Day devotional:
A Nation’s Strength
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And it’s foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
Liberty and freedom are but ideals – ideas with no force save that which man gives them. It is by men they are protected and it is by the hands of men institutions are created to preserve them. Americans must never forget this. Self governance is not easy. It is not a task for the weak willed or short suffering. The blessing of freedom is given only to those with the heart to claim it.
Today we celebrate our independence from powers foreign and tyrannous. As we celebrate, we must remember. Our independence is of our own making. The Republic stands on nothing but the shoulders of the men and women who live within it.
I wish my readers a happy Independence Day.