A week ago Sunday, I had the honor and privilege to be in France. Actually, not just in France, but in a tiny piece of France that is sovereign American soil (given to the USA by France).
We walked along the coast of the English Channel in Colleville-sur-Mer, known since June 1944 as Omaha Beach — one of several beaches where Americans and other freedom-loving countries landed to crush the Germans and end the second World War. We saw artifacts and signs of the military presence there exactly 67 years ago when thousands of ships, and tens of thousands of paratroopers, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers decided enough was enough and put it all on the line for freedom. But not just for freedom.
My father fought in WWII in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific, yet I do feel a connection to France, even to the French people having ancestors from France (1700s), and yet a more recent “connection” as well. My grandfather fought in France in the first World War — again against Germany. I have his picture at a military hospital in France. He also was wounded twice, and I am honored to have (well, Mom has) one of those Purple Hearts. My father and my grandfather, like thousands and thousands of others, fought not just for freedom.
On Sunday, June 26, as I stood in awe on the beautiful grounds of the Normandy coast with the dark blue sea of the English Channel as a backdrop and gazed at the magnificent and orderly display of row upon row of fallen soldiers, I finally “got it.” I saw with my own eyes the vast expanse of white crosses marking graves (9,387 graves in four cemeteries; all Americans killed in the war). Yes I “get it.” These soldiers were willing to give their all in this foreign land that we might be free because they were patriots who loved God and country.
That same day, June 26, back in the U.S., a small news story was published out of Houston (which I didn’t see until I was in Houston recently). The story [was titled] “Veterans Affairs bans mention of God at funerals for vets.” The article goes on to say the VA is telling families that God and Jesus can’t be mentioned at services for the fallen family members. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
Have these people not been to Normandy and seen the many thousands of crosses, row after row after row that span the cemeteries overlooking the sea and marking the sacrifice that these soldiers made? Do they not know the Declaration of Independence? “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.” This means No Creator ... No Rights.
One key point Jefferson and others wanted to make when they penned those words and founded our nation was that government would not interfere in church, in worship. This is represented in “liberty.” Liberty means responsibility; to be honorable and moral in our actions for the common good. This is the “freedom” we have, a blessing of our Creator which many have fought and died to maintain.
The Bible tells us (Psalms 127) that, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” I contend that our Creator will not continue to bless our land if we forget what our forefathers knew; that it is He who gives us liberty.
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?” [This is a quote from] Thomas Jefferson.
Do those who want to change the course of our nation not know the Jefferson letter containing the metaphor, “wall of separation between church and state,” was written in reply to a letter from Baptists in Connecticut who had concerns that their free worship would be curtailed ... and that Jefferson sought to allay any concern that government would interfere? The modern self-proclaimed “revisionists” (including the lady running the VA in Houston ) simply must not know the history of our country.
Do they not know that Jefferson routinely attended church services in the U.S. Capitol during his terms as vice president and president, even riding by horseback in the rain to attend? Do they realize that on Sunday, Jan. 3, 1802 — just two days after Jefferson signed the “separation of church and state” letter — [that] he attended church in the Capitol? (The U.S. Capitol was also used as a church until the mid-1800s).
This week a good friend died suddenly. He was just 53, a great father and husband, a patriot and a “believer.” He “got it.” And he wanted his children to have the same freedom to speak out — and to worship — as they chose. Jefferson was like that, I think. He believed in our right to “life,” “liberty” and the “pursuit of happiness” — ideals that many young men and women gave their all to protect. Today all three are in jeopardy.
The elite, those in leadership today and some in academia and the media in particular, are trying to alter our course. Reference to God, our creator, is not tolerated. Crosses can’t be displayed. Marriage no longer means a holy union of a man and wife. And babies in the millions are killed.
On what path do they want to take us? Is this the right course? For example, were those millions of unborn children able to enjoy the “liberty,” “pursuit of happiness” and especially “life” our founding fathers sought to protect in this the land of the free, rights granted as they said, by our Creator?
Yes, there are those in leadership and influential positions who indeed are effectively altering our course unless we who “know these truths to be self-evident” speak up. God help us to do so with the same passion of those buried in Normandy who gave their all protecting our liberty, our right to life and pursuit of happiness.
We should pray for America and for our leaders. For God is still in control. Our forefathers knew this fact, a fact which transcends time and space. He is Lord and only in Him will we find true freedom.
God bless the USA
— Sam Norton
Former U.S. Army Captain
Medical Service Corps