Notes from a churchlady: Patriotism is not allegiance to political party

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…" Psalm 33:12

A hundred years ago every community gathered for a big Fourth of July celebration that included parades, contests, speeches, and lots of food. People came from miles around to celebrate the birth of our country with flags waving.

They celebrated the country they not only loved, but that God blessed from its founding. In New York, a man by the name of George M. Cohen wrote many patriotic songs including "It's A Grand Old Flag", "Over There", and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Also in New York at the same time was a Jewish immigrant by the name of Irving Berlin who wrote a song in 1918 titled, "God Bless America." It wasn't until 1938 with the world at the brink of war that he reworked it into the song we know today.

The song begins with these words: "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free, Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer."

Patriotic songs may not be as popular as they once were, but I'm sure most hearts are stirred by these familiar tunes. What about the words to "America the Beautiful" with the words, "God shed His grace on thee." Finally, who isn't stirred when they hear "The Star Spangled Banner" even if they don't know the words?

Is patriotism old fashioned? I don't think so because as long as one person keeps the spirit alive and passes along the stories, it will live as long as our great country. Certainly our country isn't perfect, but I still think it is the greatest on the face of the earth.

At a young age we learn the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, but with the passing of time it becomes almost monotonous as we fail to think about the meaning behind the words.

In 1969, the comedian Red Skelton gave an explanation that included the following words: "Pledge — dedicate all of my worldly good to give without self-pity. Allegiance — my love and my devotion.

"To the flag — our standard, Old Glory; a symbol of courage. And wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts 'Freedom is everybody's job.'"

In this election year there are differences of opinion among Americans, but I want to make one thing clear…patriotism isn't to what political party you belong; it is your total commitment to our country founded on Christian values.

In the 236-year history of this country so much blood was shed in the name of freedom and liberty. Following the battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln said the following: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

On this Fourth of July, I pray we remember those values and the patriotism that made this country great through God's guidance. May God continue to bless America.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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