As the Fourth of July approaches, it's not only time for fireworks and family picnics. Its also important to remember the sacrifices that our forefathers made to get this country started.
This day is known as Independence Day because it marks just that - the beginning of independence in this country. On the Fourth of July we should recall that our fight for our freedom only began in 1776 and it continues on every year.
This year, more than ever, it is especially important to remember the lessons learned from the bravery of those who gave their lives in past conflicts. According to Janice Connell, author of "Faith of our Founding Fathers: The Spiritual Journey of George Washington," (Hatherleigh Press), the soldiers who fought in our nation's revolution were no strangers to sorrow, cold, hunger, persecution, or terrorism. But then, as now, they used their faith and love of country to give them strength.
As things began to look hopeless at Valley Forge, Washington did something that inspired his men to persevere in the face of all their hardships. "Washington, in full view of his troops, knelt in the snow to pray," Connell explains. "He implored the blessings of God on his dedicated troops, men who carried the hopes and dreams of freedom in their hearts." Their commander's faith inspired the men to fight on.
For those who want to show their support for our troops through prayer this Fourth of July, here is a short prayer from George Washington's own personal prayer book:
"Bless the rulers and people of this land and forget not those who are under any affliction or oppression. Let Thy favor be extended to all my relations, friends, and all others who I ought to remember in my prayers. Hear me I beseech Thee for the sake of my dear Redeemer in whose holy words, I farther pray."
This Fourth of July, we must not only remember the sacrifice of soldiers who gave their lives to create the United States, but also celebrate the bravery of those who fight today to continue that legacy left by George Washington and the other founding fathers.
May their faith and patriotism inspire and strengthen them as it has the countless soldiers of America's past.