By Bill Tinsley
Corsicana Daily Sun
Next Monday we will fly our flag outside our house to honor Memorial Day. It is a tradition my wife brought into our marriage from her father who served in the Pacific during World War II. All across our country the stars and stripes will unfurl in the breeze, lifting and dropping, whipping and snapping above the roof tops of schools, factories and government buildings; flying over parks, parades and cemeteries. Millions will stand to their feet in stadiums across America and sing of the broad stripes and bright stars reflected by bombs bursting in the night.
Forty-six years after Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, that flag hung in ominous stillness above Fort Sumter. Bearing the stars of the states that rose against it, surrounded by the sound of screaming men and thundering horses, it led the way into man-made storms of grape-shot and cannon fire. Almost a century later it was planted on the black sands of Iwo Jima where young Marines gave their lives to lift its blood-stained cloth above their heads. The flag still marks Tranquility Base where the Eagle landed and Neil Armstrong took one small step for man and a giant leap for mankind. Most of us have stood at the graveside of flag draped coffins and many mothers have held the crisply folded flag to their breast, solemnly handed to them by white gloved soldiers.
This Memorial Day the flag reminds us that America is still an experiment. Two and a quarter centuries is a very short time and our nation is still relatively young. Lincoln’s prophetic words at Gettysburg still ring true. We are a new nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Our generation, like every other generation must rise to the test to prove whether “that nation, or any other nation so dedicated and so conceived can long endure.” Every Memorial Day we are called to a new resolve that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Memorial Day helps us remember young men and women who gave their lives on the battle field. But the most important battles to be fought for the future of our nation will not be with missiles and guns. The most important battles will be fought in the hearts of men and women. The preservation of our nation, its hopes, dreams and ideals, depends on the character of its people and their leaders. Honesty, integrity, compassion, generosity, goodness and faith are the elements that will determine the future freedom of our nation.
In Proverbs, the Bible says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Prov. 14:34) Isaiah says, “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth justice to the nations. (Isa. 42:1). Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the nations. Every person will ultimately be accountable to Him and our greatest challenge is to reflect His character and His glory.
Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. He may be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com.