A Word About Patriotism

My dad’s not around, now. He’s spending the rest of eternity in heaven with Jesus. He died a few years ago, but invariably around the week of the 4th of July, I think about him, and what a true patriot he was. He grew up in the hills of the Ozarks in Missouri, a little town called Eminence. During his growing up years, his family like most families across the country I suppose, struggled to survive the Great Depression. He grew up listening to what he called ‘classic opera’ music on their small, table top radio. The Grand Ole Opree came on every Saturday night, with opera stars like Roy Acuff and the Carter Family, so my dad was an Opree officianado.


However, December 7, 1941 changed the course of his life, as it did the entire country. And in April of 1942 — the week after his 18th birthday — he joined the Navy. This hayseed kid who swam in a river called Current and loved to go fox huntin’ in the Ozark hills left his tiny town in Shannon County, Missouri to add his hand to defending his country. He’d certainly never seen much of the world at that time, but now he would spend the next three plus years bobbing around in the South Pacific. When I was a little boy, of course, I didn’t ask him many questions about those war years. I did ask him about the tatoo on his arm of an American Eagle. He said he went on liberty with a bunch of his buddies one Friday night while they were in some port; they all decided to get a tatoo in some tatoo parlor. “We were just nineteen year old kids, all doing the same thing; one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, gettin’ this tatoo,” he told me more than once.


My dad had two passionate loves in his life besides his family. He loved his country. And he loved God.

In Acts, chapter 17, the Apostle Paul spoke to a group of philosophers on Mars Hill. He told them about God and country, really. First, he spoke of God: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it ….” That’s part of what he said about God. But then, a bit later in his address, he talked about the nations:  “From one man  God created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” My dad believed that.

During this time when we celebrate our nation and its freedom, I salute the memory of patriots like my dad, and all those brave men and women who serve to protect what I believe God has ordained: A nation whose national motto is; “In God We Trust.”


“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Ps. 33:12)

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