John Olsen – Celebrating Independence Day

My good friend John Olsen started celebrating Independence Day a week early this year by wearing his patriotic tie to church on June 27th.  He graciously allowed me to take his picture for this blog.

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Thanks, John, for your uplifting, patriotic example for all of us.  Happy Independence Day!

If any of you would like to send me a patriotic photo of yourself to post on this blog, please let me know by posting a comment on this post.

From a Patriot to a Princess – A Civil War Letter

imageYesterday, on Memorial Day, the Arizona Republic shared this heart-wrenching letter, written by Sullivan Ballou, a 32-year-old officer, lawyer and former speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, before he left to fight at Bull Run, a battle he would not survive.

As you read this letter, please consider that the name “Sarah” means “princess”, a title befitting the woman so dearly beloved by her valiant patriot, Sullivan Ballou.

 

 July 14, 1861

Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days – perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more …

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt …

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us.

I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me – perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness …

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

Sullivan

Note:  The Wikipedia article apparently contains the full text of the letter, including passages omitted from the Arizona Republic article.

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Floral Flag

Thanks to my friend Grant Palmer for leading me to this beautiful flag.

This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; Each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants with 4-5 flower stems each for a total of more than 2 million flowers. You can drive by this flag on V Street south of Ocean Ave. in Lompoc, CA.”

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“The 2002 Floral Flag is 740 feet wide and 390 feet high and maintains the proper Flag dimensions as described in Executive Order #10834.”

Aerial photo courtesy of Bill Morson

George Washington: Patriotism and Morality

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

George Washington, First President of the United States

Passion for Freedom

I passionately and resolutely love the concept of personal freedom. One key facet of a personal mission statement I penned in the fall of 1995 is “Enhance personal freedom through global electronic communications.” This blog is a an effort to fulfill at least a part of that mission.

I believe that personal freedom is a gift from God, to be treasured, protected and celebrated. Freedom to act for ones self is at the center of the purpose of our purpose in mortal life. The freedom to think, speak, worship, travel and work to support my family is priceless to me.

Living in the United States of America is a wonderful blessing. I believe the constitution of the United States established by our founding fathers under the inspiration of God. Its principles are just as pertinent today as they were over 200 years ago when this document was first written to lay the foundation for our great nation.

I fear that powerful forces in the world more interested in power, fame and personal gain than personal liberty are seeking to take away the freedoms we enjoy. We must be watchful and diligent in defending the freedoms we enjoy.

Mesa, Arizona, USA

Stephen Studdert: Sacrifice for Liberty

Sacrifice for LibertySacrifice for Liberty” is an excellent article published by Stephen Studdert, reviewing his feelings about freedom and liberty as he watched brave military personnel returning home from assignments abroad.

“Those aboard these enormous vessels of war were men and women dedicated to peace. Tired, homesick, and battle-worn, they were deservedly and quietly proud of a job well done. Duty and honor and country had new meaning for the 6,000 professional and deliberate sailors and Marines aboard. …

“Looking at these young shipboard Americans, our inclination to cheer their safe return home was quickly overtaken by our own personal feelings of gratitude for God and family and country, and for a country which allows my love of family and my free and unhindered worship of God. These sailors and Marines, each a serving citizen, had willingly gone into harm’s way to defend freedom and liberty, not to conquer but to vanquish, and with no thought of self.

“For us this moment was not a time of idle words. Our only spoken expression to each other that day was “May God bless America, this land of liberty, and those who defend her.” Such is my grateful prayer today.”

May we all salute the courage of brave men and women who defend our freedom and thank our God for establishing this land as the bastion of liberty in the world.

About the author: Steven M. Studdert served as a White House Advisor to three US Presidents, beginning with his appointment as a Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of “America in Danger: What You Must Know to Protect Yourself.”