It’s been my experience that our Southern ladies and gentlemen crazy love our country. Probably the best 4th of July I’ve ever had was last summer while we were living in South Carolina. Pancakes, fried chicken, blue-grass & peach ice cream. And fireworks. They seriously let you buy stadium-sized fireworks on sale for 25 bucks and you can let them off in your backyard, the nearest school ground, wherever. We saved some for a random night at the end of July, and within two minutes of lighting our first one on our apartment lawn, one of the rooms on the third floor had joined in, setting stuff off from their balcony. And Wal-mart? The groceries were basically one giant red-white-and-blue flag, for the entire summer.
But I’m not sure people realize the intimate allegiance Mormons also have with Uncle Sam. Outside of military schools, Brigham Young University (BYU–the Church’s largest private university) has the largest ROTC program. We believe that God guided and inspired the Founding Fathers in writing the Constitution and in setting up our democratic republic–and that part of the reason for the need for a free nation was to prepare a place where the restored gospel could be established again. We have a deep appreciation and respect for the Founding Fathers. Joseph Smith, our first president of the church recorded the Lord’s words in Doctrine & Covenants 101:80 “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”
This past weekend my sweet city of Boston hosted Patriots’ Day–commemorating every little detail of the events of April 18-19, 1775. I kind of went junkie on it all. I went to every single thing I could. Battle of Lexington reenactment: got up at 4 AM in the morning. Sat: battle of Concord (by myself), then the crazy skirmishes along Battle Road back to Boston (these ones are better because we don’t really have clear records of these, so they just go nuts and shoot each other for like 40 minutes. Think Sweet Home Alabama).
But my favorite was the service at the Old North Church Sunday night where they hung the two lanterns warning that the British were coming. When we got to the fourth verse of “America the Beautiful” in that church I about lost it–the first two lines are “O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years.” I think watching the HBO miniseries John Adams this past month with my husband and just living here and visiting all the Revolutionary War spots had something to do with it, but I have never felt so strongly about our country as I did singing that dang song. Our country really was founded upon a belief in, reliance on, and obedience to God–“We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” [April 18, 1775] –John Adams and John Hancock. America, do you realize this?
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.