DO YOU REMEMBER HOW HAPPY YOU WERE WHEN YOU FIRST MEMORIZED THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE?
I don’t know why, but I can remember struggling with the word, INDIVISIBLE. Boy! That is a big word when you are in the first grade. I was so proud when my Mom said, “Yes, you got it.” INDIVISIBLE, in other words, you cannot divide it.
I was ten years old, and my Mom and aunt packed us into the back of a Nash automobile. We headed across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, to California and back again. My love for America was born traveling across “hot”, Southwestern USA. When I was twelve, I drove halfway to Madison, Indiana, in a 1951 Ford pick-up truck to where my Dad was working on power plants along the Ohio River. The next year, we traveled north through Arkansas crossing the mighty Mississippi River, and the Northern part of the state into Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and on up into New England, New York State, and Connecticut. We went there to see my aunt and uncle who were living and working in New Haven. In 1959, my Dad was working in Baltimore, Maryland, and we went to see him from Texas. Mom chose to take the southern route through Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, and through the Virginia’s on up into Maryland. From there we took day trips to D.C. and NYC. I can still recall how I felt when I saw the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and my feelings when I stood at the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and the White House.
I have traveled from East to West, Florida, California, Alaska, Hawaii, and lately to the Dakota’s of the Northern Plains. I have seen the big cities, spent nights in their high towers from NYC to LA, Miami to DC, Chicago to Dallas, and much more. There is not one part of America that I do not love. I have driven through the redwoods in Cali, to the snow-covered mountains in Aspen. I have sweated across the Mojave and driven miles and miles across nothing but miles and miles in Texas. As a child, I stood on the edge of the Petrified Desert and Hoover Dam. I walked down 5th Avenue in NYC, at twelve, and fished for crabs in the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston. I have stood in the cold streets of San Francisco and sweltered in the heat of Houston. I have walked the lighted streets of Chicago at Christmas time when the Windy City lived up to its name.
I have lived in Kentucky for 39 years, and it could be said that in the spring and summer, it is the prettiest state from border to border that there is. Kentucky is beautiful, from the vista view of Jellico on edge of the Appalachia Mountains to the cornfields of Western Kentucky, and the state parks and lakes are incredible. On this, the 244th birthday of this great nation, I can tell you that I believe America is GOD’S IDEA. I did not say IDEAL.
There are a lot of things that concern me about America this morning, i.e., immoral legislation, immoral justification, immoral ideologies (political ideas about how a country should be run, and how people should make decisions).
But this is our country, and if we want to make a difference, we cannot sit idly by and watch America be burned down. The coming election is about a pursuant extremism based on corruptive ideologies that are profoundly immoral.
Today, there will be demonstrations across this great nation that will disgrace our heritage. The blood of anarchy will be spilled in the streets, and while we are celebrating the enviable history and privilege of freedom, some will do everything they can to destroy what only blood could have bought. We all know that injustice is something that legislation cannot heal; it must begin in the heart of a man. I feel a greater responsibility, as I know you do, to pray for our nation, and my prayer is: “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her, through the night with a light from above”.
HAPPY RED, WHITE, AND BLUE DAY AMERICA, ON YOUR 244TH BIRTHDAY!!
Your loving pastors,
Cleddie & GayNell Keith