As I read this book For God and Country written in 1976 by Dr. A. Loyd Collins, it touched my heart and helped me to remember how much I love America, MY country, and how great she really is. In the words of Dr. Collins, “The greatest heritage of America is her God, her form of government, her flag, and her youth.” Sometimes, in the heat of the battle, we get so wrapped up in the fight that we lose sight of what we are fighting for – this passage from chapter five is a great reminder, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! – Sonya Hodnett, State Director, CWA of Louisiana
The Preservation of our American Heritage
For God and Country
By A. Loyd Collins
Ph. D., Th. D., LL, D.
“Our great country was originally founded upon religious and Christian principles.
“The words, ‘In God We Trust’, are deeply implanted in our hearts as a people and as a nation. It has been with trust, with faith, and with hope, and under the protection of Divine guidance that we have survived and grown as a great nation.
“Today, as never before in our history, we need to reaffirm our American principles: freedom of worship, the brotherhood of man, the love of our country and humanity, the defense of our fundamental rights, and self government.
“Democratic government and Christian principles go together. Individual rights, which are guaranteed by our Constitution must be maintained and preserved. Our heritage has cost us too much to take it lightly.
“We must safeguard the future of our country so that it will continue to be a country ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’
“As I think of America and her greatness and our national heritage the past arises before me like a dream. Again, I see the lanterns shining from the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston, and I hear the hoof beats of Paul Revere’s horse, as he makes his famous midnight ride to warn the farmers of the coming British. I hear the sharp reports of their muskets as they gather along the lines of Lexington. I see them at Concord Bridge, and amid the crimson flare and battle smoke on the hot and bloody slopes of Bunker Hill. Amid sleet and hail and rain and snow and bitter cold, I see Washington and his ragged army crossing the ice-filled Delaware. I can trace their route through Pennsylvania by blood on the snow made by the broken shoes of the soldiers. I see them freezing around the dim campfires at Valley Forge. After eight long, hard, bloody years of struggle, I see the day of triumph at Yorktown when, amid the tears and cheers of Washington and his soldiers, I behold the flag of the enemy lowered from the battlements and I see the stars and stripes flutter to the breeze. Since then, no despot has dared drag it down.
“It has been a long time since the shot heard ’round the world’ was fired at the Old North Bridge in Concord.
“The great battlefields of the Civil War are today mingled with memories. The guns of the Blue and Gray have long been stilled. Over a century has passed since taps echoed and re-echoed over the gory field at Gettysburg.
“The blood soaked battlefields and burning embers of towns and cities in World War I are no more, and weeds, mingled with wild flowers, decorate the graves of the unknown fallen.
“The blare of bugles, the beat of drums the roar of cannon, and the sharp reports of rifles in World War II are facts in history. The batteries of great forts are silent.
“The heroes of the past have made their exit from the stage of time, and today their names are inscribed upon tablets of marble and of stone in the silent cities, amid the flowers that love has planted and love has plucked:
‘On fames eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread
And glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.’
“As inspiring as it may be, we cannot live amid the resplendent glories of the past; we must live in the realities of the present. To us is the challenge to carry on for the future, remembering that all that has gone before is but a preparation for that which is yet to come; but, we can and should pause briefly by the crosses of those who died that we might have freedom, and softly say, ‘Thanks, pal!’
“Let us remember that at this Bicentennial time, the torch of liberty and freedom has been thrown to us by those of former generations who paid such a dear price to make possible the freedom that we enjoy.
“We must be prepared for the future. We must ever be ready. We must trust in the Lord. We must keep the watchman on the wall as they did in Bible times, and the sentinel at his post; but, we must also realize that it takes more than canons, battleships, and aero planes to make a nation great and powerful, it takes God.
“I believe in America. America is worth fighting for, dying for, and living for.
“Our heritage has cost us a great deal, and we must never sell our country short. It is the hope of mankind, the inspiration of freedom loving people everywhere. When I was in Europe, a guide said to me: ‘Europe is a dead civilization. It has made its contribution, America is the hope of the world.’
“When I came back from Europe for the first time and had seen the conditions there, I said: ‘Thank God I am an American.’ I do not think that I fully appreciated America until I had been on foreign soil and returned to my native land.
“We should never forget that our present government has been carved out of great sacrifices upon the part of the American people, from the earliest times to the present hour.
“I see an old white haired man, past eighty years of age, look toward heaven with a little prayer. As he raised his musket to his shoulder to fire at the British at Bunker Hill, I hear him exclaim, ‘Lord, I thank thee for sparing me so I could fight this day for my country.’
“America should mean something very special to us. Throughout the years, it has cost us so much ‘blood, sweat, and tears,’ as Winston Churchill would say, to make our Declaration of Independence a reality.
“The greatest heritage of America is her God, her form of government, her flag, and her youth.
“If our country should ever be destroyed, it will not be by the forces from without, but rather from evil influences, which may spring up from within.
“America has been inspired and blessed by many great men of the Revolution. Looking down the corridors of time, we see such men as: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and a great, great host of others.
“Many years ago, I visited the great fort at Ticonderoga. At the entrance gate, there is a sign which reads: ‘Many great men have passed through this gate.’
“Then it names a number of them, and then concludes with these words: ‘You who tread in their footsteps, remember their glory.’
“Our great documents of history are an inspiration and our history is illuminated by such household words as Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, the Declaration of Independence, Trenton, Saratoga, Yorktown, Valley Forge, and Independence Hall.
“Ours has been a long and dramatic history which is worthy of preservation.
“Time marches on. When the shadows of evening gather, let us hope and pray that Old Glory will still be waving in the sky. It will be if each of us, in our own small way, will help to keep that banner in the sky and preserve our great Christian heritage and the American democratic way of life.
‘Long may our land be bright
with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might
Great God, our King.'”