In our daily lives, filled with news of wars and disasters and poverty and plagues
and famines and unspeakable acts of unkindness toward one another, we often
neglect to take time to reflect upon all the good things that God has provided for
us here on Earth for our pleasure and happiness. I believe that God’s blessings are
still here for all peoples of the world to partake of – but that this will come to pass
only if our leaders, and those is power, turn away from the paths of Hate and
Greed and War and begin to head down that road that leads to Love and
Compassion and Peace.
About two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth gave the World, in a very few
words, the simple way to accomplish this goal.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
THE GOLDEN RULE
The Bluebird of Happiness
~ ~ ~
The beggar man and his mighty king are only
diff’rent in name,
For they are treated just the same by fate.
Today a smile and tomorrow tears,
We’re never sure what’s in store,
So learn your lesson before too late, so
Be like I, hold your head up high,
Till you find a bluebird of happiness.
You will find greater peace of mind
Knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.
And when he sings to you,
Though you’re deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through,
And so remember this, life is no abyss,
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.
Life is sweet, tender and complete
When you find the bluebird of happiness.
You will find perfect peace of mind
When you find the bluebird of happiness.
Two hearts that beat as one,
‘Neath a new found sun,
We are in a world that’s just begun,
And you must sing his song, as you go along,
When you find the bluebird of happiness.
~ ~ ~
The Origins Of The Song
The original song Bluebird of Happinesswas introduced at Radio City Music Hall.
Popularized by Jan Peerce in the 1948 best-selling record by Art Mooney and his
Orchestra. Lyrics by Edward Heyman & Harry Parr Davies, music by Sandor Harmati.
“It is truly wonderful how the small voices of birds reach into
one anothers’ hearts, and into ours.”
– John Muir
by Meg McPhaden, Writers Showcase, Whitman College
Freedom. Endless clear sky. The birds sing as they soar, as they migrate across
continents. The desire and necessity for travel causes caged birds to beat
themselves to death during the time of migration. The pull is so strong that these
birds will orient themselves in the direction of their migration.
We are migrating south for the winter. We have the freedom to travel along the
grey ribbons of this country. We were made to move. With the most advanced
respiratory system in the animal kingdom, birds are the closest present animals to
dinosaurs. We should listen to the songs of the birds before they are gone. These
creatures are experts at adaptation, and remind us of our primeval desire for
movement across the land.
Although society pushes us to stay, create a community, watch the world change
from the windows of our homes, the great pull to journey is still within us. As we
watch birds fly by, soaring with the wind, we believe in freedom and long to be
there with them. This human desire for migration manifests itself in our
fascination, concern, and respect for birds.
The symbol of our country is a bald eagle; a large, flying predator. The United
States was founded through flight. Pilgrims fled their countries for this free land.
The Western cowboy dream especially reflects the desire for journey, for the
Wild West has no boundaries. Every day offers a new horizon, and every evening
rests on different soil. It is difficult for Americans to sit still. Occupying the
same house for an entire life is extremely rare. Second homes are highly valued,
because confinement to a single location is undesirable. Travel is romanticized. We
long for vacations. By settling, we have domesticated ourselves, and have stunted
our migratory desires.
Human settlement has caused huge environmental problems. Water diversion and
irrigation for agriculture, grazing of domestic livestock, logging for stationary
houses, urban sprawl, unwillingness to change, and the creation of unnecessary
things to keep us amused in our sedentary lifestyles are a few of these problems.
Excess air conditioning and energy for heat are used to compensate for the fact
that we no longer live in, or move to, environments where we could naturally
survive. Water is used excessively in urban areas, 60% of which is used for
landscaping. If we are not satisfied with how our front lawn looks, why don’t we
move to a place where we enjoy the natural surroundings?
Desire for greener grass has embedded tourism into our cultural desires. Go see
America! Yellowstone awaits you! We want to “see” things; to snap a photo then
leave. Tourism is destruction. The desire to experience rather than participate has
driven out those who genuinely want to participate. Is it really better to travel
than stay in one place? Perhaps the method we have chosen is detrimental. But we
cannot erase the desire to move from our DNA. Movement calms babies.
When we cannot travel, perhaps we are sustained vicariously through the liberating
flight of winged species. When a bird is injured or dies, a little part of us dies as
well. Concern for birds launched the environmental movement in the United States
when Rachel Carson revealed birds might stop singing and die from pesticide use in
Silent Spring. Concern over threatened bird populations led the Audubon Society
to commence water restoration in Mono Lake. The Audubon Society is the largest
environmental organization in the United States, and the Audubon Christmas bird
count is the largest amateur scientific effort in the world.
Photos of birds on the Owens Valley Committee brochure help to inspire water
restoration in California. The Bulgarian environmental movement was launched when
concerned individuals laid rodenticide-killed bird corpses along the steps of the
capital building. When a species that can fly far away to escape from tribulation
can no longer survive, something is terribly wrong. Birds carry the messages of
The emotional appeal of birds can be used to effectively increase awareness and
concern for the environment. Mike Prather of the Owens Valley Committee reveals
that the Eastern Sierra Birding Trail “has brought green votes side by side with
the Chambers.” A group of ranchers in the borderlands of Mexico and New Mexico
lead ranchers and environmentalists alike on bird walks through a landscape they
both care deeply about. The common love of birds should be used for collaboration
in environmental change.
When the environment is experiencing horrific destruction, we too, want to escape
from this world. Fly away like birds. Find solace in open sky, clean air and flight.
Flying dreams. Hope is the thing with feathers. White doves released into the air
symbolize peace, something that often does not occur on land. Birdsongs fill the
air. “I want to get away, I want to fly away.” “I’m as free as a bird now.”
“Blackbird…learn to fly…all your life you were only waiting for this moment to
Everyone can relate to birds, because they are everywhere. Their songs permeate
our culture. Pigeons nest in the deepest, darkest cracks of intercity buildings,
albatross haunt ships over endless seas, and the Arctic Tern annually migrates
30,000 kilometers, from the top to the bottom of the world and back again. The
stork delivers babies, angels have feathered wings, cunning Raven stole the sun, Big
Bird brings joy, paper cranes beg for peace, and nightingales sing us songs of love.
Abundant bird imagery left on pottery and red canyon walls reveal the deep
reverence the Anasazi people of the Southwest held for birds and waterfowl. No
one wants to harm these feathered creatures.
We have taken birds under our wings, for we long to preserve the freedom of
flight and migration. We need to preserve this wildness and freedom, for we no
longer possess it ourselves. We have forgotten how to fly. But winged silhouettes
at sunset still inspire. Our sympathies are with the birds. Environmental movement
and change relies on compassion for and increased awareness of these creatures.
The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is
against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the
weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how
important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better
treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless
person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up,
folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.
School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one
has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to
promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable
medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to
promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.
Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has
become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the
flag’s real meaning remains.
– Charlotte Aldebron, 12, wrote this essay for a competition in her 6th grade English
class. She attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Comments may
be sent to her mom, Jillian Aldebron: email@example.com
– Published on April 3, 2002 by Common Dreams
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
July 4, 1996
Letters to the Editor
We’ve forgotten God’s role in
It saddens me to see how we have forgotten America’s godly heritage.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence marked our freedom from Great
Britain. Its most famous sentence is,“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that
all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
If we do not believe in the creator, how can we be provided with and enjoy the
inalienable rights which he has given us?
Congress opens up with a prayer. United States’ presidents are sworn into office with
their hands on the Holy Bible. Naturalized citizens take their oath of allegiance ending
with “so help me God.” Notice the words “under God” in our pledge of allegiance. Our
currency declares “In God We Trust.”
From the moment that (verbal) prayer was banned in the public schools in 1963,
divorce rates, suicide rates, STD rates, crime rates and alcohol consumption increased
while SAT scores declined.
Our founding fathers would be unhappy with the present spiritual condition of our
nation. George Washington said, “It is impossible to govern rightly without God and the
– Paula Maeda
* * * * * * * * *
== THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE ==
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
* * * * * * * * *
The firstDay of Prayer was declared by theContinental Congressin 1775:
I therefore beg leave to move –
That henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance ofHeaven and its blessing on
our deliberations, be held in this assemblyevery morningbefore we proceed to
business; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that
– Benjamin Franklin
* * * * * * * * *
Prayers of the Presidents
We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy
protection: that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of
subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly obedience to
government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their
fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us al to do justice, to
love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of
mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and
without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a
Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
– George Washington
* * *
I pray God I may be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty in the true
spirit of this great people.
– Woodrow Wilson
* * *
So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly – to see the way that
leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men – to the achievement
of His will to peace on earth.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
* * *
Almighty God, as we stand here, at this moment, my future associates in the
executive branch of the government join me in beseeching that Thou will make
full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng and
their fellow citizens everywhere.
Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong and allow all our
works and actions to be governed thereby and by the laws of this land.
Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people, regardless of
station, race, or calling. May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of
those who, under the concept of our Constitution, hold to differing political beliefs,
so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and for Thy glory. Amen.
– Dwight Eisenhower
* * *
Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on
– Ronald Reagan
* * *
Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank Youfor Your love. Accept our
thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its
continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear
Your will, and write on our hearts these words:
“Use power to help people.”
For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great
show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to
Help us to remember it, Lord.
– George H.W. Bush
~ ~ ~
– Prayers compiled in God Bless America: Prayers and Reflections for Our Country –
Copyright 1999 by Zondervan
CATHEDRAL OF THE REDWOODS
Edwin Way Teale
MY COMPANION on that trip up the California coast had traveled around the world. He
had seen the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, the Louvre, the Parthenon in Greece. He had
met famous people; he had made a fortune and was himself known to millions of
Yet as we rode north that day he told me there was one thing in the world he still
wanted to see. That thing was a tree. Not an ordinary tree, but a redwood tree. The
oldest living thing on earth, it possessed what he had been unable to obtain from
life–more of life itself. It stood out sharply in the mind of my companion as a symbol of
longevity and, in the twilight of his fruitful career, he wanted to see it.
The road ahead of us appeared strangely red as we neared a grove of these great
trees. The embankments were red. The dust on the roadside leaves was red. Our car
descended into a little meadow bounded on one side by a mountain brook. We walked
across a plank bridge and entered the high green silence of a forest edge; we were in
the cathedral of the redwoods.
Even the most empty-headed and garrulous person would fall silent and thoughtful
before the soaring majesty of the redwoods. More than half a hundred generations of
human beings had succeeded each other on earth while these trees had lived on with
scarcely a change in their outward form. The same roots had drawn nourishment from
this same ground for hundreds of years before the Vikings sailed for Vineland or
Columbus left the shores of Castile, or King John affixed his seal to the Magna Charta
at Runnymede. Some of the magnificent redwoods around us towered as high as a 25-story skyscraper and some of them were already seedlings before the birth of Christ.
These trees of the California coast, the Sequoia sempervirens, are–with the Sequoia
gigantea, the Big Tree of the interior–the last survivors of a race that once extended
throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Redwoods once grew in Europe, in China, in the
Arctic tundra, among the mountains of New Hampshire. Now they are native nowhere
else on earth except along the north Pacific coast.
Scientists have calculated the weight of one huge redwood at 1,700 tons. To reach the
upper twigs the sap requires a pressure of nearly 100 pounds to the square inch. Yet
such a forest mammoth begins with a seed so small it takes nearly 5,000 of them to
weigh one pound. The great trees that develop from such tiny beginnings have unique
qualities that help them endure. No other cells known to botany have as high a ratio of
length of life to growing period as the cells of the redwood. They live as long as 4,000
times the period required for them to reach their full growth. . . .
Insects are no menace to the redwoods and forest fires do little damage. The
cinnamon-brown bark of the trees is fire-resistant, sheathing their trunks in a living
firewall two feet thick. The wood itself is also slow to ignite. During the great San
Francisco fire, the flames in almost every case were halted at streets where the houses
were fronted with redwood.
This created a demand for redwood siding, shingles and trim that acted as an added
stimulus for cutting the great trees. Irreplaceable groves were felled. It was not until
1918 that the Save-the-Redwoods League was formed and began its effective work of
preserving true Cathedrals of the Open for posterity. But by then almost a third of the
redwood belt, the last stand of these magnificent trees, had been cut over….
Whether the grove that we visited was protected or not, I do not know. I doubt if I could
find it on the map. It is, in itself, a kind of Lost Woods. It’s location is vague in my
mind; but its image is indelible in my memory.
As we walked about among the immense columns–columns that rose through a gray-green twilight until they disappeared in the clouds of the upper branches–we talked in
low, hushed tones of the simple majesty of the great trees, of their long endurance.
There is, as John Muir has pointed out, a strange air of other days about them. They
are the same, century in and century out; they are life in its most permanent form.
In the presence of the redwood’s eternity, we feel a sense of unavoidable awe, just as
we feel a sense of pity at the quick rush of the may fly’s life-for-a-day. Somewhere
between, but nearer to the may fly, is man himself. His three-score-and-ten years seem
but a fleeting segment of time when viewed against the background of the redwood’s
cycle of life.
Yet one transitory shape of time, oddly out of place, appeared before us among the
majestic trees. A gray-and-white kitten suddenly came into sight. It walked toward us,
tail waving in the air. Unafraid, it rubbed against our legs and purred. Then it wandered
off again through the forest.
Where it came from, we could only guess. The nearest house we saw was many miles
away. In the immense setting of that mighty grove, the kitten appeared ephemeral, a
tiny and evanescent spark of life, a fleeting vision of mortality among the nearly
immortal redwood trees.
We watched the kitten go. My friend looked up at the redwoods for a long time. Then
he turned silently and walked back across the bridge of planks. Silently he climbed into
his long black car and his chauffeur started the engine.
We rode for miles without speaking a word.
– This article appeared in the July, 1946 issue of Coronet magazine.
* * *
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain
unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit
– Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
THE AMERICAN’S CREED
I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people, by
the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent
of the Governed.
A Democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a
perfect Union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of
freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots
sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its
Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its Flag; and to defend it against
– William Tyler Page
~ ~ ~
In March, 1917, the city of Baltimore, through Mayor James H. Preston, offered a prize
of $1,000 for the best creed. Committees were then appointed to pass upon the creeds
submitted. . . .
Several thousand creeds were submitted to the committee on manuscripts prior to the
closing of the contest on September 14, 1917, and ‘creed No. 384′ was selected as the
best. The envelope containing the author’s name was opened in New York City, March
It was then disclosed that the author of No. 384 was William Tyler Page, of Friendship
Heights, Md. [Applause.]
His creed was selected because it was not only brief and simple but remarkably
comprehensive of the best in American ideals, history, and tradition, as expressed by
the founders of the Republic and its greatest statesmen and writers.
– Congressional Record, April 13, 1918, page 5496.
My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountain-side
Let freedom ring.
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free, –
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake,
Let all that breathe partake,
Let rocks their silence break, –
The sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee I sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might,
Great God our King.
– S. F. Smith
CONSIDER WHY YOU CARE
Why do you care about the place where you live?
Why lend a hand when you’ve something to give?
It’s the sense of belonging, a matter of heart,
It’s the conscience within you that says: “Do your part!”
Why do you care whether your child grows strong,
Or learns the difference between right and wrong?
It’s the deep inner feeling we sometimes call love
That was born within you and comes from Above.
Why do you care about a neighbor’s sorrow,
Or join in working for a brighter tomorrow?
It’s the spirit of grace; your God-given soul;
It’s the love without which no man is whole.
Why do you care about the Commandments and peace?
Why strive to add beauty and see kindness increase?
It’s part of the need to hold your head high;
To give life more meaning as time goes by.
Why care about freedom and justice for all?
Why so quick to defend when liberty calls?
It’s the devotion we owe to the land that we cherish;
It’s the American way we’ve sworn shall not perish.
Why care about wildlife, tall trees and good soil?
Why worry about water that pollution can spoil?
It’s the force deep within you that says you should try
To better the earth as you look to the sky.
“What’s in it for me?” is the selfish man’s test
And answers himself: “I couldn’t care less!”
No, we’re not yet all brothers, sad to say,
But your care can help, if you decide it that way.
Consider why you care.
Consider it well.
– From Soil Stewardship Week, Author Unknown
PURE AIR NECESSARY FOR GOOD WORK
What are you doing to keep the air pure?
Do you let the sunshine in when possible?
Do you keep the windows open at all times possible?
Do you see that the air is free from tobacco and cigarette smoke?
Mr. Employer–give your workers pure air.
You can then expect first class work.
– Lorraine Elizabeth Wooster
[From Wooster Patriotic Guide and Speaker, Copyright 1928.]
Across the lonely beach we flit.
One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
And up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds,
Scud, black and swift, across the sky,
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white lighthouse high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,
One little sandpiper and I.
I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong,
He scans me with a fearless eye!
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be tonight
When driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky;
For are we not God’s children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I.
– Celia Thaxter (1836-1894)
There is nothing so powerful as truth –
and often nothing so strange.
– Daniel Webster
(President Lincoln’s Favorite Song)
If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows,
Laughing at the storms you meet,
You can stand among the sailors,
Anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them,
As they launch their boats away.
If you are too weak to journey,
Up the mountain steep and high
You can stand within the valley,
While the multitudes go by,
You can chant in happy measure,
As they slowly pass along,
Though they may forget the singer,
They will not forget the song.
If you have not gold or silver,
Ever ready to command,
If you cannot to the needy
Reach an ever open hand,
You can visit the afflicted,
O’er the erring you can weep,
You can be a true disciple,
Sitting at the Saviour’s feet.
If you cannot in the conflict
Prove yourself a soldier true,
If where fire and smoke are thickest,
There’s no work for you to do,
When the battlefield is silent,
You can go with careful tread,
You can bear away the wounded,
You can cover up the dead.
Do not then stand idly waiting
For some greater work to do;
Fortune is a lazy goddess,
She will never come to you.
Go and toil in any vineyard,
Do not fear to do or dare,
If you want a field of labor,
You can find it everywhere.
– Author Unknown
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness
in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to
finish the work we are in.
– Abraham Lincoln
THE NAME OF OLD GLORY
Old Glory! say, who,
By the ships and the crew,
And the long, blended ranks of the gray and the blue, –
Who gave you, Old Glory, the name you bear
With such pride everywhere
As you cast yourself free to the rapturous air,
And leap out full-length, as we’re wanting you to? –
Who gave you that name, with the ring of the same,
And the honor and fame so becoming to you?
Your stripes stroked in ripples of white and of red,
With your stars at their glittering best overhead –
By day or by night
Their delightfulest light
Laughing down from their little square heaven of blue! –
Who gave you the name of Old Glory? – say, who –
Who gave you the name of Old Glory?
The old banner lifted, and faltering then
In vague lisps and whispers fell silent again.
Old Glory: the story we’re wanting to hear
Is what the plain facts of your christening were, –
For your name – just to hear it,
Repeat it, and cheer it, ‘s a tang to the spirit
As salt as a tear; –
And seeing you fly, and the boys marching by,
There’s a shout in the throat and a blur in the eye
And an aching to live for you always – or die,
If, dying, we still keep you waving on high.
And so, by our love
For you, floating above,
And the scars of all wars and the sorrows thereof,
Who gave you the name of Old Glory, and why
Are we thrilled at the name of Old Glory?
Then the old banner leaped, like a sail in the blast,
And fluttered an audible answer at last, –
And it spake, with a shake of the voice, and it said: –
By the driven snow-white and the living blood-red
Of my bars, and their heaven of stars overhead –
By the symbol conjoined of them all, skyward cast,
As I float from the steeple, or flap at the mast,
Or droop o’er the sod where the long grasses nod, –
My name is as old the glory of God.
… So I came by the name of Old Glory.
– From “Home Folks,” by James Whitcomb Riley. Copyright, 1897
Kind hearts are gardens,
Kind thoughts are roots,
Kind words are blossoms,
Kind deeds are fruits.
Love is the sweetest sunshine,
That warms into life,
For only in darkness,
Grow hatred and strife.
– Louise Elizabeth Wooster (Copyright, 1928)
Government is a trust, and the officers of the
government are trustees; and both the trust and the
trustees are created for the benefit of the people.
– Henry Clay
IN GOD WE TRUST
Beware, proud Union, though thy power and wealth
May gild the ills that mine thy public health.
Though ‘neath thine eagle flag, proud navies ride
Where winds can waft or ocean heaves his tide,
Though from each mountain height to ocean wave
Swells the deep anthem of the free and brave.
So thine own bird, the warrior Eagle, nurst
Where rolls the avalanche, and thunders burst,
Soared from his mountain eyry, free and high,
And thousands watched him wheeling through the sky;
Upward he sprang exulting on his flight,
Then paus’d and fluttered–from his cloudy height.
Sank the proud bird, once monarch of the skies,
His dying hymn the raven’s funeral cries.
We trust a power above all rulers’ art,
The power that guides to truth the human heart;
And while yon eagle standard floats, and thrills
The heart that’s nurtured on our own free hills,
No power but heaven, no victor but the grave,
Can crush that band, omnipotent to save!
– Thomas A. Jenckes
PREAMBLE OF THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
We, the people of the United States, in order to form
a more perfect union, establish justice, insure
domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare, and secure the
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution of the
United States of America.
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream;
‘Tis the star-spangled banner; oh, long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with victory 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 is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
– Francis Scott Key
THERE’S ALWAYS A SILVER LINING
There’s always a silver lining
Somewhere in the sky,
To bring your troubled soul new hope
And lift your spirits high.
When disappointments come your way
Accept them with a smile,
For deep down in your heart you know
They only last awhile.
Do not believe you walk alone
Because you never do.
Hold out you hand and you will find
That God is there with you.
– Harold F. Mohn
A LESSON IN FREEDOM FOR A BUCK
Take out a one dollar bill and look at it. The one-dollar bill you’re looking at first
came off the presses in 1957 in its present design.
This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue
minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We’ve all washed it
without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never
know. It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water
resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.
If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal.
On the top you will see the scales for the balance– a balanced budget. In the
center you have a carpenter’s T-square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is
the Key to the United States Treasury.
That’s all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is
something we should all know.
If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles together, comprise
the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested
that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four
years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.
If you look at the left hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is
lighted and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not
begun to explore the West or decide what we could do for Western Civilization.
The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being
Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It
was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with
the help of God, could do anything.
“IN GOD WE TRUST” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT
COEPTIS, means“God has favored our undertaking.” The Latin below the
pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means “a new order has begun.” At the base
of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776.
If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is
on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags
Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida, National Cemetery and is the centerpiece of
most hero’s monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the
United States and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet few know what the
The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons; first, he is
not afraid of a storm; he is strong and he is smart enough to soar above it.
Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of
Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At
the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying Congress, a unifying factor.
We were coming together as one nation.
In the Eagle’s beak you will read, “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, meaning “one nation
from many people.”
Above the Eagle you have thirteen stars representing the thirteen original
colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming
together as one.
Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows.
This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace.
The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns
toward the arrows.
They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide
belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with
a 13th floor.
But think about this: 13 original colonies, 13 signers of the Declaration of
Independence, 13 stripes on our flag, 13 steps on the Pyramid, 13 letters in the
Latin above, 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, 13 stars above the Eagle, 13
plumes of feathers on each span of the Eagle’s wing, 13 bars on that shield, 13
leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, and if you look closely, 13 arrows. And for
minorities: the 13th Amendment.
I always ask people, “Why don’t you know this?” Your children don’t know this and
their history teachers don’t know this. Too may veterans have given up too much
to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to an
America that didn’t care. Too many veterans never came home at all.
Pass this along to others– otherwise they may never know.
Print it and post it on your office wall so you remember.
– Author Unknown (by me, anyway)
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
Of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Chorus: |: Glory! glory, hallelujah! 😐
Glory! glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watchfires
Of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar
In the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence
By the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on. Chorus:
I have read a firey Gospel writ
In rows of burnished steel
As you deal with My contemners,
So with you my grace shall deal
Let the hero born of woman
Crush the serpent with his heel
His truth is marching on. Chorus:
He has sounded forth the trumpet
That shall never sound retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men
Before His judgment seat;
O be swift, my soul, to answer Him;
Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on. Chorus:
In beauty of the lilies,
Christ born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom
That transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy,
Let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on. Chorus:
He is coming like the glory
Of the morning on the wave;
He is wisdom to the mighty,
He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool,
And the soul of wrong His slave.
Our God is marching on.
~ ~ ~
Julia Ward Howe, the author of this stirring war song, was born in New York, May 27,
1819, and was married to Dr. S.G. Howe in 1843.
In December, 1861, Dr. and Mrs. Howe, with a party of friends, paid a visit to
Washington. Everything about the city had a martial aspect. The railroads were
guarded by pickets, the streets were full of soldiers and all about could be seen the
“watchfires of a hundred circling camps”.
One day the party drove several miles from the city to see a review of the Federal
soldiers. An attack by the Confederates caused much excitement and delayed their
return. Finally they started back to Washington under an escort of soldiers, and on the
way they sang war songs, among others, “John Brown”.
Waking in the gray dawn of the following morning Mrs. Howe found herself weaving
together words to the music she had sung the day before. Fearing she might forget the
lines if she slept again, she arose and wrote down the verses. The poem was first
published in the Atlantic Monthly for February, 1862. The verses were published
without the author’s name, and she received but five dollars for them.
Of this great hymn a recent writer says, “Unlike many of the songs of the Civil War, it
contains nothing sectional, nothing personal, nothing of a temporary character. While
we feel the beauty of the lines and their aspiration after freedom, even in the piping
times of peace, it is only in the time of storm and stress that their full meaning shine
out. Written with intense feeling, they seem to burn and glow when our own emotions