By Joan Clayton, PNT columnist
On June 14, 1777 Congress officially passed an act declaring the flag representing America would have 13 stripes, alternating red and white. The 13 stars stood for 13 colonies on a field of blue. The 50 stars today represent each state. The color red on our flag has been said to represent the blood that was shed in creating this new nation. Today I like to think it continues to represent those many lives that bravely died to protect us.
The color blue has been said to represent the ocean that had to be crossed to get to this great land. To me it represents the “true blue” patriotism of the homeland.
The color white originally was said to stand for purity. To me the white colors of purity on our beloved flag represents our founding fathers that founded this nation on Biblical principles. I think of the blessings that have reached down to all of us, blessings of prosperity, technological advances, modern day medical miracles, communication and transportation advances. “Doing what is right makes a nation great but sin will bring disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NCV).
America, you have been blessed! You have opened your arms to multitudes of those seeking a better life, a land of freedom … a place where dreams can come true by hard work and perseverance. You have welcomed those seeking to be free.
You have provided golden grain, majestic forests, mighty oceans and rich productive farmlands. Factories, manufactures and research laboratories have provided materials for tremendous services to mankind.
You have felt the tears and blood of those who have given their lives to preserve freedom, the right to vote, the pursuit of happiness and many other opportunities. The choice to worship God freely is among one of those many blessings. Pagan, barbaric societies live miserable lives. United we overcome our enemies and defend our way of life: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).
America, you have been a beacon of light for those imprisoned by dictatorship. In the midst of adversity your courage, strength and faith has remained unmovable, preserved by the sacrifices and unselfishness of your people. The “spirit of America” is ingrained in the hearts of this beloved land. They are the bravest of the brave and they have made you great.
In Deuteronomy 3, Joshua was to lead his men against evil forces. The descendants of those enemies are in the same geographical area today. Concerning the battle, Moses told Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, the LORD your God himself will fight for you” (Verse 22 NIV). That same promise reaches down by praying people in our time. Our freedom has not come cheap and we have a great heritage. There was a great price to pay.
Yet Jesus paid a greater price. The Son of God was crucified on a rugged cross on Golgotha’s hill. Jesus triumphed. He won the war and the blood-stained banner of our Savior is high and lifted up. It represents freedom from the bondage of sin.
In like manner, “Old Glory” represents our country’s freedom. May we wave it with pride. It represents “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” Every time I see the red, white and blue I will stop. I will be thankful for you and the awesome land of promise you represent. I will remember what a great country you are and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
So Happy Birthday America! You have given us many gifts. May we return to you the gifts of honor, respect, loyalty and patriotism. May that star-bangled banner eternally wave over the home of the free.