Memorial Day weekend is a wonderful time to kick off the summer, be with friends and family, have a picnic, and enjoy an extra day off. But most importantly, we need to recognize those who served for our country in the armed forces. The very freedoms that we will enjoy this weekend were provided by and protected by our brave men and women who fought for this country. And many gave their lives for our privileges. In fact, I just told a man that is going off into the Navy that I would be seriously praying for him and thanked him for his future service for our country. I found the following story and I thought it would be appropriate.
One bleak day in February, 1832, a young theological student sat in his room at Andover Seminary, Samuel Francis Smith was going over a sheaf of German songs for children, given him by a friend, the composer Lowell Mason. Sunset shadows crept into the room and Smith was tired from a strenuous day of study. He was relieved to spend a few relaxed moments going over his friend’s music.
As he hummed over one after another, one struck his fancy. He glanced at the words at the bottom of the page and his knowledge of German told him that the words were patriotic, but they did not appeal to him. He decided to write his own words. He searched around on his desk until he found a scrap of paper, about five or six inches long and two and one-half inches wide. On this, as he tapped out the rhythm of the music, he began to write.
My country, tis of thee sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride
From every mountain side let freedom ring.