I recently flew into Washington for the annual family reunion. On my way home, driving through Baltimore, I noticed a sign for Fort McHenry Historical Park. Off I went to explore. In 1814 Great Britain had just burned Washington and had positioned a fleet of ships off Baltimore to gain access to the rest of the country. It shelled Fort McHenry all night in order to gain access to the harbor, but the fort held. In the morning, Francis Scott Key, a diplomat held captive on one of the British ships, saw a flag being hoisted through his tiny spyglass. Would it be British or American? With copious tears, he saw it was his own dear flag, and he wrote these words: “O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,...those broad stripes and bright stars…” As I watched the movie in the visitor’s center, tears flooded my own eyes. I guess I’m getting old and sentimental, and more patriotic.... We should be grateful for the gift of America. Grateful to God more than proud of ourselves: grateful for American goodness and fidelity to the natural law over these 250 years. Let us pray that our country remain faithful to her Declaration of Independence, that all men are endowed by their Creator with the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
We have lost our way, I’m afraid, in the pursuit of happiness and liberty, because many Americans no longer have the right to life. How many of us think “liberty” is doing whatever we please rather than following the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” as our Declaration puts it. Let us also sing the last stanza of our National Anthem, which gives the glory to God, not man:
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power 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 we trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
God bless America!