This week as Americans, we reflect on the legacy left for us by our founding fathers in establishing our nation under God – subservient to God’s authority – and acknowledging His laws by making them our own. The unprecedented freedom we’ve benefited from for two-and-a-half centuries has come at great cost.
Today, however, my thoughts turn to my personal heritage. On Saturday, I spent all day with my mom and a cousin who lives in my town, traipsing around local cemeteries. (Still amazed at God’s orchestration in bringing Steve and I to a town where, unknown to us, I have family roots, there is a Romanian community, and my workplace allows me to be involved with college students in Cru.)
I stood at the gravesights of my great-grandfather, eight of his thirteen siblings, and his parents, Doc and Sara Brown. (When I found out Doc wasn’t a doctor – just named Doc – I liked him already.) I held in my hands a diary Doc wrote in 1865, as a soldier in the Civil War stationed at points along the Blue Ridge. Not only were the entries a fascinating peek into history, but his story made me proud.
As a North Carolinian, Doc was drafted into the Confederate Army in 1862 to fight for a cause he didn’t believe in. As I imagine life as a young Southern male at that time, I’m sure Doc’s internal compass had already alienated him from friends. Two months into his service, he was ordered to be part of a firing squad to shoot several of his fellow soldiers who’d fallen asleep at their posts. He didn’t agree and fooled his superiors by shooting above their heads instead. That incident further embittered him to the Rebel cause. He escaped, crossed the line, and joined the Union Army, serving as a Union soldier until the war ended. (Go, Doc!) Doc died at the ripe old age of 99.
His great-grandfather, Thomas Reed, fought in the Revolution, was captured and spent several years as a prisoner until he escaped. Apparently, he hid inside a hollow log as enemy soldiers (Lord Dunmore’s troops) perched on top.
I’m proud that these ancestors were some of the many who have risked their lives to obtain and secure my freedom for me. I want to give a shout-out to all who have served: my father, my cousins, Steve’s parents, his brothers and nephews, your friends and family. Especially, I’m proud of Doc who stood for what is right. I can only hope that I may have inherited some of his courage to buck the tide of popular opinion.
But even more important than my freedom as an American, I’ve been lavished with an inheritance as a child of God, one that came at even greater cost and will far outlast any nation on earth. As His adopted child, I have all the rights and privileges of an heir of the King of Kings.
I wonder what legacy our generation will leave behind. Will we stand for what we believe in or, in striving to please people, will we tout the Party Line of political correctness? Are we going to be the ones who remove our nation from under God’s protection? Lord, have mercy if we do.