Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Old Glory"

What's so special about June 14? It's national Flag Day! Ruth Apperson Rous wrote a beautiful poem called "I Am the Flag". Here is the last line: "God grant that I may spend eternity in my 'land of the free and the home of the brave' and that I shall ever be known as 'Old Glory', the flag of the United Stated of America." Wow! I have chill bumps on my arms just typing those words!

July 4, 1776. Our great country came into being with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. June 14, 1777. The flag with thirteen stars and thirteen star and stripe for each original colony...became the Official Flag of the United States. By the year 1831 the number of stars on the flag had already been increased to 24. It was during this year that Shipmaster Captain Stephen Driver was presented a beautiful new flag for his ship. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed, "Old Glory!" The story goes that after he retired from the sea and moved to Nashville, TN, he flew his treasured "Old Glory" at his home for all to admire. However, when TN seceded from the Union, Rebel soldiers wanted to destroy his flag. They never were able to find it although they searched his home repeatedly. When Union forces finally captured Nashville they raised the American flag over the capital. This flag was small compared to the "Old Glory" that Capt. Driver owned and the Union soldiers began to ask him if it still existed. The Captain....I can imagine with a sly smile on his lips....went home and began to tear apart the quilt on his bed. Between the quilt-top and the batting there it was ...his beloved original "Old Glory". He lovingly carried his treasure to the capitol where it flew in honor. That was the beginning of the nickname "Old Glory" by which our American flag is so fondly called.

Every time I look at our Stars and Stripes I fill with many emotions....pride, happiness, gratitude...the list could go on and on. What a privilege I have had to grow up here in these United States of America! I can worship God. I can travel freely. I can attend public meetings. I can speak my opinion. I can write my convictions. I can own property. I can vote. Many other liberties are mine simply because I was born in the United States of America as a free citizen.

I was "born again" into the Family of God when I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour. As the banner of His love opened over my life for the first time, I exclaimed, "Oh Glory!" ("He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." Song of Solomon 2: 4) It's been almost thirty years now that I have been flying His Banner of Love in my life. The devil has tried many times to destroy this banner but could not find it through he has repeatedly searched for it. It's hiding place is in my heart. It's my prayer that I may always keep my eyes on the Banner of God's Love and His Salvation so that I may go forward to meet the enemy with courage and not fear. ("We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners..." Psalm 20: 5a)

It is with much gratitude that I want to say "Thank You" to all the American solders who have served our country in order to keep this great land free! Their banner is "Old Glory" and it encourages them to go forward and meet the enemy with valor.

And with even more gratitude I want to say "Thank You" to Jesus Christ for placing his Banner of Love over an old sinner like me! Because of this, I am free! ("And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." John 8: 32) "OH, GLORY!"

May God bless you today....


1 comment:

Joyful said...

As you know I'm not an American, but our family used to holiday in the States every July 4th and cheer and cry along with everyone else at the times of celebrations we enjoyed while visiting there.

I think because Heaven is my home, although I am very proud of my heritage, I rejoice with you that God has placed His banner of love over me and "joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart because the King is in residence there."

Singing glory, glory, hallelujah,