Saturday, March 29, 2014

America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag

America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and FlagAmerica by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Because a local bookstore when out of business I was able to buy several books for a dollar. This was one of the ones. Sarah Palin is a very interesting person. I admit I had never heard of her until she was nominated as a VP candidate. I agree with her on almost all the things (policies) she says, however there is something about her, which I cannot put my finger on that makes me not like her 100%. This book is a good one to help to get to know how she feels on lots of issues. I have some quotes below that I enjoyed reading.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.   ~President Ronald Reagan

As usual, the Gipper absolutely hit the nail on the head. The difference, with our Constitution, is those three little words: We the people.

It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter [the Declaration of Independence]. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.  ~President Calvin Coolidge

It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin will be draped by the flag.   ~a poem Sarah's uncle e-mailed to her

When WW II ended the United States had the only undamaged industrial power in the world. Its military might was at its peak - and we alone had the ultimate weapon, the nuclear bomb with the unquestioned ability to deliver it anywhere in the world. If we had sought world domination who could have opposed us? But the United States followed a different course - one unique in all the history of mankind. We used our power and wealth to rebuild the war-ravaged economies of all the world including those nations who had been our enemies.  ~President Ronald Reagan to then-Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. It was written shortly after Reagan had just gotten out of the hospital following the 1981 assassination attempt. (this is just a portion of the letter)

Having a family gives you a gift that you might not recognize at first. It teaches you that the sun doesn't rise and set around you. It forces you to realize something that will take you far in life, if you let it: It's not about you. In our house, we pitch in and help each other out. Whether it's work, or school, or sports, or competing in the Iron Dog snow machine race, it's a family goal. If it's important to one of us it's important to all of us. And if it challenges one of us, it gets support from all of us.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.   ~Helen Keller

... we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.  ~President John Adams wrote this letter to the Massachusetts militia in 1798, at a time when the United States was on the verge of war with France.

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. The hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.   ~President Thomas Jefferson

The same week that Congress submitted the Establishment Clause as part of the Bill of Rights for ratification by the States, it enacted legislation providing for paid chaplains in the House and Senate. ... The day after the First Amendment was proposed, the same Congress that had proposed it requested the President to proclaim "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed, by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many and signal favors of Almighty God." ... President Washington offered the first Thanksgiving Proclamation shortly thereafter, devoting November 26, 1789, on behalf of the American people "to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that is, that was, or that will be ..." thus beginning a tradition of offering gratitude to God that continues today. ... The same Congress also reenacted the Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1787, 1 Stat. 50, Article III, of which provided: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." ... And of course the First Amendment itself accords religion (and no other manner of belief) special constitutional protection.
... Nor have the views of our people on this matter significantly changed. Presidents continue to conclude the Presidential oath with the words "so help me God." Our legislatures, state and national, continue to open their sessions with prayer led by official chaplains. The sessions of this Court continue to open with the prayer "God save the United States and this Honorable Court." Invocation of the Almighty by our public figures, at all levels of government, remains commonplace. Our coinage bears the motto, "IN GOD WE TRUST." And our Pledge of Allegiance contains the acknowledgment that we are a Nation "under God."  ~Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from one of his famous dissents, in a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments could not be displayed at the McCreary County Courthouse in Whitley City, Kentucky.

Although the Pledge of Allegiance has been around since 1892, the words "under God" weren't added until 1954. They were added by bipartisan legislation after the minister at President Eisenhower's church said, in a sermon in which the president was present, "There [is] something missing in the pledge, [something that is] the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life." According to an article I found from that time, Congress was deluged with mail in favor of the change. Churches, veteran's groups, labor unions, and newspapers all got behind it. Not surprisingly, Congress approved the change by a unanimous vote.

Ronald Reagan made this point in the way only he could in his famous "evil empire" speech. Lost in all the hoopla over the American president using these words to describe the Soviet Union is the fact that Reagan's speech was devoted mostly to exploring the faith in American life. The difference between our system of government and the Soviet system - one acknowledges God and the other doesn't - has significance beyond religion, Reagan reminded us. The way the two countries treated faith, he said, had direct consequences for how they treated their people. Where there was God, there was freedom. Where He was not recognized, there was tyranny.

In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for divine protection. - Our prayers, Sir were heard & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.
To that kind of providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?   ~Benjamin Franklin beseeching his fellow delegates at the Constitutional Convention

That night and the next morning virtually all of the participants watched, in their hotel rooms, the address to the nation by the President of the United States concerning the murderous attacks upon the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, in which thousands of Americans had been killed. The address ended, as Presidential addresses often do, with the prayer "God bless America." The next afternoon I was approached by one of the judges from a European country, who, after extending his profound condolences for my country's loss, sadly observed, "How I wish that the Head of State of my country, at a similar time of national tragedy and distress, could conclude his address 'God bless ______.'  It is of course absolutely forbidden.   ~Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia telling of hearing of the 9/11 attacks when he was in Rome attending an international conference of judges and lawyers

Fifty-seven years earlier [this was written in 2010), in 1944, another president - a Democrat president - had prayed with America in its time of need. On the evening of June 6, 1944, as Allied troops battled and died on the beaches of France following the Normandy invasion, FDR led the nation in prayer.

Here is what Roosevelt said:
My Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.  ~ President Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944

As you can see there is a lot of history recorded in this book. If you are a Flag waving American then you will enjoy this book!

You can enjoy listening to Roosevelt's prayer below:

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