Happy Birthday US of A! In the beginning, there were those that looked to the New World for religious freedom. Few years back in June of 1776, representatives
from the Thirteen Colonies gathered to further discuss freedom and British imperial policies such as taxation, representation, frontier policy, and British martial law in Massachusetts. When it was concluded that reconciliation was not possible, the Continental Congress voted on July 2, 1776, to declare independence. This was all well and good, except that someone with some authority had to tell the most powerful kingdom in the world that this upstart nation no longer wanted any part of them.
A committee of 5 persons was organized to prepare a document: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson. On July 4, 1776, the document was approved by those assembled and signed by their President John Hancock and followed up by the other fifty-five members. In a nutshell, war had been declared. There were no tweets or Facebook posts that day directed toward King George III or mocking Parliament. Fiction has it that the King noted in his diary a single line that nothing of importance happened that day. It was clear that Great Britain was aware of the situation as on April 19, 1775, the battles at Lexington (“shot heard round the world”) and Concord (Massachusetts) had been fought. More battles would ensue. It would look bleak for the fledgling republic, but then the tide would turn in miraculous ways, and a peace treaty signed in Paris, France on November 30, 1782, would end the war. The war would be officially concluded on September 3, 1783, with the Treaty of Paris and grant the nation full independence and recognition as the United States of America.
There are those songs that exude patriotism. Three songs have my attention: America the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, and The Star-Spangled Banner. They were taught to me in elementary school and church. I marvel at how easily these songs stir my emotions and at the flood that overtakes me when sung in groups, the larger the better. I am sure our Founding Fathers share my feelings.
There is an interesting thread that connects these three songs. In American the Beautiful, God is mentioned; shed his grace, mend thine ev’ry flaw, and thy gold refine. My Country ‘Tis of Thee’s 3rd verse starts out Our fathers’ God . . . Author of liberty and ends with Great God, our King! Our Nation Anthem declares Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation! And this be our motto: “in God is our trust!”
It is sad that I offend many when I write or say God and that I am politically incorrect. Battles wage within our borders over the topic of Religious Freedom. Those that penned these hymns voiced their faith and this Nation’s Beliefs with their words. Those that founded this nation did so with trust in their God. May I declare that when one removes God from the United States they do so at the peril of abolishing freedom; these two are inseparable! We have experienced great blessings from a Heavenly Father here in these United States and must be grateful as we commemorate this Fourth of July! Long may Lady Liberty smile on us. ■