True Freedom’s Symbol

Posted by on Jul 3, 2011 | Comments Off on True Freedom’s Symbol

Tall and proud against the sky,
Our country’s beacon stands.
Each star and stripe the symbol
Of sacrifice by willing hands.
Each thread within its fabric,
A reminder of the tears;
Of sweat and toil and suffering
By men and women through the years.
Our flag, a sign to all the world,
Of freedom, hope, and peace,
Of triumph over hardship,
And victory’s sweet release.
We all saw Lady Liberty
 Framed against the smoke…
 Of attacks by men in ignorance
Of the promise which she spoke.
Her words cry out to men like them,
The “tired”, and “poor” who suffer,
To the “huddled masses,” “tempest-tost,”
A hope of plenty, she offers.
But there stands a Symbol greater,
Which will endure beyond the years.
Born by our Savior in sacrifice
To wipe away all tears.
The Cross of Christ is the reason
Our Founding Fathers came,
And the only hope for our nation
Is to return to Him again.
The only hope for this country
Is to seek the Creator’s plan,
His Cross the same from age to age,
Dwarfs the symbols of this land.
By Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, 10/8/2001
Ó Copyright, 2001, Norma Gail Thurston Holtman
(Quotations come from “The New Colossus”, by Emma Lazarus, 1883,
engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty.)
Throughout my entire life I have been taught to be proud to be an American.   My father was a former Marine who taught me to sing the Marine Corps Hymn as soon as I could talk. 
I have, as many of you do, ancestors who emigrated from other lands.  Mine came from England, Ireland, and Scotland to find a better life.  My husband’s family emigrated from Holland when he was nine years old.  This country has offered hope to people from all over the world since its beginning.
My ancestors have fought to defend the freedoms for which this country was founded; some were among the early Dutch settlers who came to New York and faced a hard life for a chance at freedom; at least three fought in the Revolution, two serving at Valley Forge with George Washington and at least one in the War of 1812.  Some fought in the Civil War (on both sides), one supposedly on the Monitor, and one, who couldn’t stand the fighting but wanted to serve his country, tended mules for the Union Army. 
Many of my ancestors were homesteaders and pioneers to the west who faced hard work paid off in poverty, or were killed or kidnapped by Indians, or feuding neighbors. My grandfather was a World War I veteran and I had three uncles who fought in World War II, and some in Korea. My father, though stateside, was in the Marine Corps during Korea. I remember the pride as well as the anguish of my aunt who had three sons in Viet Nam at the same time.  The only wars in which none of my family served was the Gulf War, and now Iraq and Afghanistan.
My in-laws suffered through the German occupation of Holland in World War II, and I have listened to them tell of what it meant when the American Army liberated Holland.
When our country was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, I was struck most by a picture of the burning towers of the WorldTradeCenter taken from New YorkHarbor, in the forefront of the picture stood the Statue of Liberty. 
The pride I feel in being an American has grown over the past few years as I have home schooled my son and taught high school level US History and Civics from Christian curriculum.  I have learned about a side of our Founding Fathers that you never hear growing up in the public schools. 
This country was founded by Christian men and women who came to a new land to spread the gospel and to worship in freedom.  Many of them gave their lives for the sake of their faith and their belief in what God wanted this country to be, not just a national pride based on who they were, but a commitment to establishing “one nation under God”. 
I firmly believe Psalms 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord….” 
This poem is an expression of that belief and God enabled me to put on paper some of what I feel about what we face as a nation in this new war against terrorism.   This is really a war against those who stand against God and freedom and all that this nation represents.  May God truly bless America by sending revival to our land to enable us to face this enemy.
Norma Holtman, October 14, 2001
Copyright by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman & All Rights Reserved. Do not use without express written permission of the author.

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