The History of Our National Anthem

 

In 1814, Great Britain was again at war with America.  Although the United States had won their independence 29 years earlier, Great Britain was enraged at America’s demands for an independent Canada, as well as America’s friendship and free trade with France.  “There is no public feeling in this country stronger than that of indignation against the Americans,” declared the London Times on April 15, 1814.  Conflict between the two nations had erupted into full-scale war.  The defeat of Napoleon’s “Grand Army” had freed an additional 14,000 veteran British soldiers to join in the battle against America.  By April, Great Britain was well entrenched in America and was winning the war.

The newly arriving soldiers pillaged the East coast of the United States, burning ships at anchor, razing manufacturing plants, torching private homes, and taking what property they could carry away.   On August 24th, after a short battle, British forces set fire to Washington D.C., plundered the city and burned the White House, most of the public buildings, and many private homes.  The British next set their sights on Baltimore, some 30 miles northeast of the nation’s capital.

Baltimore is situated on a beautiful natural harbor on the Patapsco River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay.  Because of its location, Baltimore was a major port city which carried on extensive trade with France.  This was an additional reason why the British particularly disliked the people of Baltimore.  The rag-tag American militia, shopkeepers and farmers built trenches and defended the city from a land invasion.  Fort McHenry guarded the city from a waterborne attack. Flying above the fort was a huge American Flag.  The flag was 30 feet tall, 42 feet long, and made of 400 yards of cloth. The 2 foot tall stars were “spangled” (off-set at different angles so they would appear to twinkle when the flag was blown).   It had been specially made, “so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.”

On Sunday, September 11th, the first ship in the British fleet arrived at the mouth of the Patapsco River as the people of Baltimore were attending church.  On hearing that the British had arrived, church services adjourned all over the city.  The Reverend John Gruber concluded his services with the prayer, “May the Lord bless King George, convert him and take him to heaven, as we want no more of him.”

At 5:46 AM on September 13th, most of the fleet of 50 British ships opened fire on Fort McHenry.  Their long-range cannons could fire 400 pound cannon balls a distance of 2½ miles with accuracy.  But because the cannons from the fort drove the fleet back to a 4-mile circumference, their cannons were less than accurate.  British gunners hoped to make each shrapnel-filled bomb explode shortly before impact by correctly trimming the length of each fuse.  British cannons shot over 3,000 cannon balls towards Fort McHenry throughout the day, and continued until early the next morning.  Many bombs exploded in midair, far from the fort, others continued burning after impact and were doused with water to keep them from exploding.  Miraculously, four inches of heavy rain also extinguished many of the bombs.  At 1:00 AM, all grew silent.

From the deck of the Minden, Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry.  As a young attorney, he was aboard to negotiate the release of prisoners.  From his vantage point, the silence was worse than the bombardment.  An amphibious nighttime assault was ordered and the troops rowed for shore.

The city of Baltimore, as well as the British fleet waited through the long night to see whose flag would be flying.  At day break, a single cannon shot was heard from the fort, signifying that the fort was occupied, but by whom?  Finally, as the early morning mist and smoke began to clear, Key saw through the distance the stars and stripes still flying over the fort and the British rowboats in retreat.  Now confident of a complete American victory, Key took an old letter from his pocket and began to write on the back of the words of The Star-Spangled Banner.  Only four Americans had been killed in the long assault, yet the battle was the turning point of the war.

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light; what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight; o’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air; Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.  Oh, say does that Star – Spangled Banner yet wave; o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a bill declaring this as our national anthem.  Long let it wave!

Mike Leavitt was the 14th Governor of Utah. Below is his response to Rick Santorum’s charges regarding Mitt Romney and the 2002 Olympics.

 

Fitting the profile

by Mike Leavitt, Guest columnist

Thanks to some charges leveled by former Sen. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney’s stewardship of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games has become the subject of a curious controversy. Among other things, Santorum has suggested that Mitt succeeded thanks only to a “federal bailout.” As I was governor of Utah at the time, I’m in a unique position to set the record straight.

Here are the facts:

Four years before the Games were to begin, they got caught up in a scandal. Sponsors began to withdraw and the budget of the Games was nearly $400 million over anticipated expenditures. A new leader was needed. Utah was at risk financially, and I personally engaged in the search for the right person. I found Mitt Romney, who had a distinguished career in business, helping to start new companies and turn around failing ones.

Within weeks of his arrival, Mitt had laid out a revitalized vision for the Games. Mitt assembled a new team to bring the budget under control. I repeatedly heard him explain that if the budget was to be balanced, every spending request had to be divided into needs and wants. He called on the people of Utah to volunteer to close the gap. I’ll never forget the ad he placed in Utah papers. It read: “Help wanted; hard work, no pay, better hurry.” Fifty thousand people responded.

When the Games had concluded, they were an unqualified success. In a world still reeling from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, people across the globe were assured that they could gather in safety to celebrate the highest qualities of the human family. Mitt Romney’s leadership had turned the $400 million deficit into a $100 million surplus. It was a spectacular turnaround. Sen. Santorum’s suggestion that only a “federal bailout” made all this possible is flatly wrong. We looked to the federal government only to assist with security and necessary infrastructure. Throughout, Mitt did the right thing, and he did it extraordinarily well.

After the Olympic Games had concluded, Mitt Romney returned to Massachusetts where he was elected governor. His state had a $3 billion deficit and the economy needed a turnaround. With the same discipline he used in business and the Olympics, at the end of four years he turned it into a $2 billion rainy-day fund.

The bottom line is this: The profile of the person we were looking for to rescue the Olympics matches almost perfectly what United States needs in our next president. We need a leader who can return us to fiscal responsibility, discern between those things that are needs and wants, and inspire a demoralized people to believe again. Mitt Romney is a leader who can do those things, and more.

Leavitt served as Utah’s governor from 1993-2003

America’s Search for a Constitutional Executive

The Founders of America did not have a very good experience with executives, either in their study of history or in their own day. Whether they were known as kings, monarchs, protectorates, dictators, tyrants, or whatever else, the Founders knew that once a person comes into some authority either by choice of the people or by conquest, he almost always begins to accumulate more and more authority over those whom he governs. They knew it was the nature of mortal man.

Itemizing the tyranny of King George III

No better record exists showing the tyrannical actions of a run-away ruler than what the Founders themselves itemized in the Declaration of Independence. They listed about thirty grievances against the king. The Founders surely recognized that this is the pattern of power-hungry executives. Below are listed seventeen of the thirty grievances. As you read and ponder them, perhaps you will sense that most of them sound very familiar to modern-day Americans because they seem to recur every time an executive begins to act like a dictator. The Founders wrote:

  1.   .1   He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  2.   .2  He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their       operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  3.   .3  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  4.   .4  He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
  5.   .5  He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
  6.   .6  He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  7.   .7  He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
  8.   .8  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
  9.   .9  For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
  10.   .10  For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
  11.   .11  For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
  12.   .12  For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
  13.   .13  For suspending  our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  14.   .14  He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
  15.   .15  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and      conditions.
  16.   .16  In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a      tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
  17.   .17  Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

The Decision not to even have an Executive
in the new American Government

As a result of their fear of runaway executives, the Founders decided to not even have an executive in their new government. They would go with just a loose confederation of states in the Articles of Confederation. Surely this would solve the problem of those ever-power-hungry executives. But it was not long before some of them realized this was a wrong decision. How do you fight a war with no civilian authority in charge who could make and enforce decisions? While General Washington and his men were out in the field bleeding and starving and freezing to death, the states were arguing over who would send supplies and the congress was powerless to enforce any request.

A Hard Lesson results in a Wise Decision

As happens with many lessons in life, the process of learning those lessons is a great teacher. Perhaps the Founders had to learn this way, but it almost made them lose the Revolutionary War. During the war they always seemed to be on the razors edge of defeat. When the Founders finally decided to do something about the Articles of Confederation, one of the first problems they tackled was the lack of an executive. They decided an executive branch was necessary. But should it be a multiple executive? And how should the executive be chosen? All of those questions took a lot of debates to answer. In the end, the decision was reached by consensus that there should be one president, but only if the Constitution held him tightly to a very few enumerated areas of responsibility. They also invented a system of checks to make it as tight as possible to prevent a president from amassing too much power. He could not do the things that kings were so fond of doing throughout history. He could not make law, he could not build himself an army, he could not decide to go to war, he could not interfere with the economy, etc. In fact, the Founders gave him the power to function in only six areas:

  1.   .1  He is the Chief of State and represents America to the world.
  2.   .2  He is the Commander-in-chief of the military which Congress would control.
  3.   .3  He is the CEO of the executive branch.
  4.   .4  He is the chief diplomat of the United States , but any agreement with another nation must be ratified by the Senate.
  5.   .5  He recommends to Congress legislation he feels the nation needs.
  6.   .6  He represents the conscience of the nation in granting pardons and reprieves.

An effective executive reflects a special
talent in working with people

A truly effective executive is a problem solver. He recognizes the true nature of a problem by shining light on it from all angles, making sure, as much as possible, that there are no hidden shadows that would upset the solution once found. He has much experience in gathering the facts and listening to different points of view. He surrounds himself with people who have the welfare of the whole in mind without being slanted by personal agenda. He recognizes that human nature exists in everyone and that most people, while perhaps thinking they are objective, many times represent one side of the problem or solution.

An effective executive, especially in government, recognizes that there are people on both sides of issues, sometimes representing philosophies of competing political parties. Perhaps they could be represented by the two wings of the American Eagle.

Wing # 1 might be thought of as the wing of compassion. It represents the philosophy that government should solve everyone’s problems and they dream of elaborate problems to try to do that. If left uncontrolled, this wing would head directly to tyrannical executive.

Wing # 2 might be thought of as the wing of conservation. It represents the philosophy that government should do very little. If this wing were the only one functioning, the people would lose confidence in government, take matters into their own hands which in turn would lead toward anarchy.

If either of these wings fails to do its part, the eagle will soar to one direction or the other. But as long as both wings are operative and work in conjunction with each other, the American Eagle will fly straight upward.

This is the work of a great executive to keep both wings operative and flying in a symmetrical, coordinated pattern. It is not an easy task, given the sometimes strong opinions of people.

Perhaps likening an executive to a seasoned judge is instructive. A good and effective judge will listen to both sides, each represented by an advocate. He will weigh the evidence, study the law, meditate on possible solutions, consider the effect of solutions on both sides, and make a decision which preserves both law and equity or fairness. This is what the Founders envisioned for an executive in his limited role as president of the United States of America .

Jefferson expresses the need
to maintain balance in government

In a conversation with President Washington, Thomas Jefferson expressed concern over the growing presence of those who want more centralized, powerful government:

“There does not pass a week, in which we cannot prove declarations dropping from the monarchical party that our government is good for nothing, is a milk and water thing which cannot support itself, we must knock it down, and set up something of more energy.”

Jefferson later expressed concern over a growing number from his own party, which if left unchecked could lead to anarchy:

“I see with infinite pain the bloody schism which has taken place among our friends in Pennsylvania and New York , and will probably take place in other States. The main body of both sections mean well, but their good intentions will produce a great public evil.”

Jefferson wisely saw the need for maintaining the government in the balanced center of the political spectrum where the Constitution had placed it. In 1803, he wrote:

“Our business is to march straight forward … without turning either to the right or left.”

The delicate nature of exercising executive power

Suppose you were the captain of a huge barge loaded with grain and headed down the Mississippi River when you suddenly realized you were going in the wrong direction. What do you do? Cramming it immediately into reverse would cause irreparable damage. You must gradually slow it down, turn it round and then make your way back up river. That takes skill and time. It takes an experienced captain.

America must choose an experienced captain for its next executive to carefully navigate the political waters which are so turbulent and filled with danger and intrigue. If we have as our leader for the next four years, a person who has already failed as an executive or one who has never had executive experience, it will be like appointing a person to be a judge on the Supreme Court who has never been a judge! Only more disaster looms.

Surely the American people need to use great wisdom in the choice we make in the upcoming elections. The Founders would no doubt recommend we choose someone who reverences the constitutional limitations of the executive and at the same time has the wisdom and experience necessary to gradually restore America to its proven greatness.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

 

Abraham Lincoln – A Servant of the People

Abraham Lincoln exemplified the heart of a servant throughout his life. Lincoln did not aspire to leadership positions but was elected by his peers because of his servant nature. He maintained his role as servant throughout the various positions to which he would be elected. As president of the United States, Lincoln often concluded his letter with the phrases, “Your friend and servant,” “Your obedient servant,” and “Your humble servant,” and in the White House, he never alluded to himself as “president” and he asked others to call him “Lincoln” instead of “Mr. President.”

As a servant to the people, Lincoln sought the guidance and support from the Almighty God. During the Civil War, a clergyman said to Lincoln, “I hope the Lord is on our side.” Lincoln replied, “I am not at all concerned about that for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” Lincoln worked diligently to do that which was right without concern for power, position, and popularity.

There were many that advised Lincoln against signing the Emancipation Proclamation. As he was about to sign the document, Lincoln was asked, “Are you certain this is the right course of action?” Lincoln replied, “I never, in my life have felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.”

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and recalled the day of emancipation that came when he was a boy. He wrote, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. . . After the reading [of the Emancipation Proclamation] we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see. For some minutes there was great rejoicing and thanksgiving.”

Lincoln is today honored as one of the United States’ greatest presidents, even though he had no concern for such praise. Lincoln led the nation as a humble servant. He successfully lead the country through the civil war—preserving the Union while freeing four million people who were in the bondage of slavery.

Lincoln efforts to serve the Nation and free the captives would cost him his life. At the age of 56, Lincoln was assassinated. The Bible declares, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, KJV) The following is one of the many tributes written after his death:

“To the memory of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, who died a martyr to his country, falling under the hand of a traitor assassin on the night of the 14th day of April 1865. The fourth anniversary of the beginning of the great War of Rebellion, through which he led the nation to a glorious triumph. . . The Great Republic loved him as its Father, and reverenced him as the preserver of its national life. The oppressed people of all lands looked up to him as the anointed of liberty, and hailed in him the consecrated leader of her cause. He struck the chains of slavery from four millions . . . with a noble faith in humanity. . . By his wisdom, his prudence, his calm temper, his steadfast patience, his lofty courage, and his loftier faith, he saved the Republic from dissolution. By his simple integrity, he illustrated the neglected principles of its Constitution, and restored them to their just ascendancy. By all the results of his administration of its government, he inaugurated a New Era in the history of mankind. The wisdom of his statesmanship was excelled only by its virtuousness. Exercising a power which surpassed that of kings, he bore himself always as the servant of the people, and never its master.”

                       

Posted by Cameron C. Taylor

 

The American Tradition of Fasting for Heaven’s Help

 

Last month our message reminded readers of the desperate situation our country found itself in during the months leading up to 1787 when many factors combined to bring near collapse. It seemed only a miracle could save the colonists at that point. The writing and adopting of the Constitution provided that miracle, but only after the hard work and active faith on the part of many colonists. This letter contains the description of one specific action on the part of many colonists which seemed, perhaps more than any other, to draw on the powers of Heaven sufficiently so as to appear to have been what some leaders actually called miraculous intervention.

Proclamation of the National Day of Humiliation,
Fasting, and Prayer by the Continental Congress

On two occasions before the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed, the Continental Congress pleaded with the people of the colonies to come together on specific days in the spirit of fasting and prayer. The first set aside was July 20, 1775, not long after the Battles of Lexington, Concord , and Bunker Hill . The second was May 17, 1776, just two months after General Washington’s successful siege of Boston from the British and about five weeks before the Congress would adopt the Declaration of Independence. Here is the text of the second Proclamation:

“In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publicly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.

“The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and privileges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprises, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood.

“But if, continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent, on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honorable and permanent basis – That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorrupt able patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity.

“And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labor on the said day.

(Note: The word “humiliation” had a different meaning in colonial days than it seems to today. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined humiliation as “The act of abasing pride; or the state of being reduced to lowliness of mind, meekness, penitence and submission.”)

Fasting: Humble Appeal to Heaven for Help

The colonists could bear many testimonies of the power of fasting to call down the powers of Heaven on their behalf. We have previously cited the famous prayer meeting in the Old South Meetinghouse in Boston in 1746, when the congregation had gathered in a spirit of fasting and prayer and called upon God to stop the approaching French fleet from destroying the colonists’ coastal cities. Miraculously, a violent storm arose in the Atlantic and, instead, destroyed nearly every one of the French ships! The colonists could cite dozens of such stories to modern day Americans.

Ellis Sandoz, editor of the wonderful two-volume work entitled, “Political Sermons in the Founding Era” writes:

“Days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving were proclaimed for particular occasions throughout the eighteenth century and even earlier. Such times were nationally proclaimed (“recommended”) at least sixteen times by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War; and the entire American community repaired to their various churches on such days of fasting, prayer, and humiliation to repent of sins, seek forgiveness, and implore God to lift the affliction of their suffering from them….”

Apparently, the effective use of fasting among the colonists was known outside the American continent, especially in England . One British friend to the American cause, a Dr. Price, wrote concerning an impending crisis:

“In this hour of tremendous danger, it would become us to turn our thoughts to heaven. This is what our brethren in the colonies are doing. From one end of North America to the other, they are fasting and praying. But what are we doing? Shocking thought! we are ridiculing them as fanatics, and scoffing at religion. We are running wild after pleasure, and forgetting everything serious and decent at masquerades. We are gambling in gaming houses; trafficking for boroughs; perjuring ourselves at elections; and selling ourselves for places. Which side then is Providence likely to favor? In America we see a number of rising states in the vigor of youth, and animated by piety. Here we see an old state, inflated and irreligious, enervated by luxury, and hanging by a thread. Can we look without pain on the issue?”

Fasting the right way for the right reason

Because the colonists were so successful in fasting to help them after all they could do for themselves and because they and their preachers were serious students of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, we assume they were well acquainted with the counsel of Isaiah, as he admonished that a true fast that God recognizes is one that is not flashy or showy, one that includes sincere repentance, and one where the person show a genuine willingness to help the poor and the needy. He told his fellow Israelites they are fasting for show and contention and for this reason God does not respond to their prayers:

“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

“Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

“Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?”

Isaiah then describes the elements of a fast that would be acceptable to the Lord:

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then Isaiah describes the beautiful blessings that awaits one who fast with a humble, penitent spirit and desires to care for those who are less fortunate:

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

“Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58: 3-11)

Isaiah’s requirement to help the poor and the needy through fasting is completely consistent with Jesus’ emphasis on helping the poor as a determinant to enter heaven. In Matthew 25, he said:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

“Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee?

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25: 34-40)

Fasting seems to be a wonderful method to offer help to the truly needy and thereby be able to expect the assistance of Heaven. It has even been suggested that if all Americans would fast just two meals and give the value of those meals to help the poor, there would be no hungry or homeless in the United States. What a welfare program indeed!

Faith and Good Works Precede the Miracles

It would seem if modern Americans wish to call down the blessings of heaven on our country, we must follow the example of early Americans who successfully used this pattern of sincere prayer and fasting to do so. Perhaps we should begin in our families, our churches, and in all our associations to seriously instigate a periodic fast and prayer for our country. Certainly our cause is as just, and we are perhaps as equally in need of a miracle today to preserve that which was miraculously produced in their day.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

“My Freedom Library’s” Principles

 

Government: We believe government exists solely to protect the people’s God-given rights.

The Constitution: We believe the constitution was prepared by wise men acting under the inspiration of God, and if honored and followed as the founders intended, it will assure the American people of a national government that will not violate their unalienable rights.

Human Life: We believe in the fundamental human right to life for the unborn, ourselves, and our posterity.

Taxes: We oppose all tax increases and demand tax cuts at every level. We support major cuts in federal spending.

Family: We believe it is the responsibility of every citizen, especially public officials, to oppose philosophies and programs which usurp parental rights or diminish the role of the family.

The Economy: We believe a free market economy is the most effective way to motivate all citizens to be productive and to develop their talents and abilities.

Education: We believe in the right of parents to guide the education of their children without oppressive government regulation.

Elected Officials: We believe that honest wise and good men and women who are committed to constitutional principles should be sought after and supported.

Religious Liberty: We believe the founders of our nation had no intention of separating religion and state institutions. Their intent was to prevent government from establishing a single state religion. The purpose of the first amendment was to guarantee the free expression of the religious values in any setting, public or private.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty “

These familiar words from the Apostle Paul come from his teaching to the Corinthians that Christ has taken away the vail and given us real freedom and liberty, both individually and as a people (2 Cor. 3:16-17). In doing this He became the Redeemer of the whole world, of all mankind, of each individual soul living on the face of the earth. No other religion or belief, outside Christianity, teaches a doctrine like this. No other religion teaches of a personal, individual Savior whose atonement brought about the possibility of forgiveness, freedom, and liberty for each and every individual. Liberty and freedom from what? –from the bondage and guilt of individual sin and transgression; from the wages of sin which is death; from the grasp of that awful monster who would bind us down in everlasting chains. Freedom from these oppressions is the highest form of liberty. In the words of the song, “America”, written by Samuel Adams in 1832, the fourth verse begins, “Our father’s G od, to Thee, Author of Liberty…, is an expression of our true heritage and where all liberty originates.

Early Colonizers of America Sought Liberty for the Soul

Author Chris Esseltine describes the hunger of the soul that began to develop in people during the reformation in Europe:

“As a result of the spirit of life resulting from the Western Awakening, combined with the power of the Word, people began to see mankind differently than they had before. During the Dark Ages and the Medieval period, man was thought of as something corrupt, sinful, dangerous, and worth very little. The common belief was that only a few select persons (the ones with the power) were good enough to lead others and eventually be saved in Heaven. But as people began reading the Bible, reading some Classical literature, and as they were enlightened with new awakening life, the view of human beings started to change dramatically.

“For the first time in centuries, man was seen as a real individual, instead of just one more part of the state or the church. The individual became important and so did his or her needs, wants, and happiness. The individual human finally had dignity, value, respect. Much of this new insight came from the Bible, where the value of mankind is taught repeatedly. For example, in Luke 9:56 Jesus taught that He ‘…is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’ He also taught later that ‘…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.’ (Luke 15:10) Isaiah explains the reason for this. He proclaimed that man was ‘…more precious than fine gold.’ (Isaiah 13:12)

“Paul taught that the Lord ‘…will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:4, capitals and italics added) This great Apostle also taught that ‘The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God : And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.’ (Romans 8:16-17) So, the biblical idea that all men and women can be saved through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that each member of the human family is literally a son or daughter of God with divine inheritance and potential, caused people to abandon the old ideas that mankind was worthless for the correct view that mankind was instead good, productive, and capable of great achievement.

“With the development of the belief that each individual was valuable, good, and independent came the idea that no person should be forced to think, believe, or act according to the will of an unjust ruler. Every individual had the right to seek and discover according to his own conscience without fear of interference or punishment from earthly authority. This did not mean that a person has the right to do anything they wanted; law was given to keep people from harming others. But within the bounds of God’s Law, a person must be free to choose.

“The development of this belief gave birth to the Separatist spirit. This is the spirit of individualism, of the right to personal choice, of liberty of conscience. It is called the ‘Separatist’ spirit because it moved reformers to ‘separate’ themselves from several things – old ideas and traditions, corrupt churches, abusive governments, and anything that was not true to Christ, His Gospel, and His liberty.”

Christianity Will Stand On Its Own Merits

The Separatist Founders knew that pure Christianity, as it was taught by Jesus, would thrive on its own merits. It does not need the force of government to sustain it. It is not afraid of competition from other religions or philosophies for converts to its teachings. Once the Spirit bears testimony to the sincere, truth-seeking soul of the divinity and mission of Jesus Christ, all other things take second place. The Word has revolutionary power. It will change hearts. It will change people. It will change governments. It will change the world.

One of the amazing things about pure Christianity is that it requires no force to bring about change. It is so silent, so gentle, so calming and yet so persuasive that without the use of force it proves to be the most powerful means to change the hearts of men. It is revolutionary in nature, not because it uses force of arms, but because converted souls will embrace it at the cost of their own lives.

But pure Christianity does need one thing to survive-Freedom of Conscience. Men must be allowed to embrace it if they so choose. Hence the need for a government to guarantee freedom of religion. Government must be kept from either establishing religious beliefs and doctrine or preventing religious doctrines from being believed and lived.

American Constitution Written to Protect Man’s Right
to Believe According to His Conscience

With the firm conviction, then, that Christianity will abound in a society where tolerance for all beliefs will be maintained, the Founders set about creating “the greatest piece of work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” (William E. Gladstone). It is known as the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution so divides, limits, and balances the power of government that the sacred right to worship as one chooses cannot be interfered with. Just to make sure, the Founders added the First Amendment which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The United States of America has become known as the most tolerant nation in the world. It is tolerant to all kinds of religious beliefs. A person may form his own church. He may proselyte for members. He may ask for financial support from its members. He may build church buildings and, in the name of the church receive exemptions from taxation. A Hindu or Buddhist may practice his religion in America. A Jew may practice his religion in America. A Muslim may practice his religion in America. A person is even protected in having no belief at all. As long as religion is not used as a cover for the violation of the rights of others, any religious belief is allowed to be practiced in America. And in America each believer may proselyte for his own faith.

It is interesting to note that all of this freedom to believe and to act grows out of pure Christianity which is the foundation of America. No other belief system in the world will even allow this degree of tolerance for others.

America ‘s Most Sublime Message Is The Message of Christmas

If we really understood the impact the message of Christ’s birth could have on the world, Americans would do much more to help the rest of the world enjoy Christ’s most bounteous blessings.

Dr. Skousen reminds us of how it all began 2000 years ago:

“Only about a mile distant, hovering over the outskirts of Bethlehem, were certain angels preparing to make their presence known. Below them were a group of humble shepherds, abiding in the fields and watching their flocks by night. These had been chosen to see a marvelous vision that they would be talking about the rest of their lives.

“It all commenced the moment Mary’s precious infant was born. Immediately, the shepherds saw the veil of mortality sheared back, and an angel stood before them with a glory that bathed the surrounding terrain in a radiant light.

“The shepherds thought they would be consumed and shrank back in fright, but the angel said:

‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

‘And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’

At that moment the hosts of heaven could no longer be restrained. The majestic choir of thousands of heavenly voices burst into song. It appears that these vast angelic choirs must have repeated one line of the song several times because the shepherds never forgot it. They remembered how the angels sang:

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

“When the vision closed, the shepherds left immediately to go into Bethlehem and seek out the location of the child “lying in a manger.” Perhaps the flickering flame of an olive oil lamp sent its rays into the night to guide them to the stable’s portals.

“As the shepherds stood watching Joseph, Mary, and the baby, they saw that the little one was indeed wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. There is no record of any conversation. Perhaps they just looked.

“What they saw was a humble Galilean peasant and his wife with a newborn child. There were no halos of light about their heads, no visible cherubim. Nevertheless, with the glory of the angels still fresh in their minds, the shepherds looked upon the sleeping child with devotion and awe. Jesus Christ had entered mortality!”

Have a meaningful, memorable Christmas season.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

The Thanksgiving Proclamation by George Washington

The Thanksgiving Proclamation

of the

United States

signed by

George Washington


By
the President

of the

United States of America

a Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the  providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,  and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee” requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of mighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service  of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful  knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether
in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties  properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best:

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of
October in the year of our Lord 1789.

G. Washington


From the original in the writing of William Jackson. It was
signed by Washington, who had written in the day “third” in the date.

This was the first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation
under the Constitution.

 

The U. S. Constitution and Sharia Law

Throughout the history of this world there really have only been two kinds of law. We have given these systems of law very descriptive and easy names to remember. They are Rulers’ Law and People’s Law. Every legal system can fit under one of these two broad banners. Under Ruler’s Law, the king or dictator makes the law. Under People’s Law, the people make or accept the law by which they live. It is interesting that some of the most dominant kinds of legal systems have come about when it is claimed to emanate from God. Under Ruler’s Law, if the ruler can make the people believe he has a divine right to rule, he can persuade the people to do about anything and the use of force becomes acceptable to many people if done in the name of God. Under People’s Law, as was the case in Ancient Israel, when the people accepted Jehovah as their King and accepted His laws as their laws, it had a powerful persuasiveness to right actions. The major differe nce was that there was no use of force. Not even God would force a leader or laws on a people they did not willingly accept, because He respects the agency of man. Religion has been a powerful force throughout history in either types of law.

In following the example of Ancient Israel, America’s Founders set forth laws based on the laws of nature and of nature’s God. It has catapulted the United States to an unmatched position as the most prosperous and freest nation on earth.

Now we are faced with the same kind of threat that has been seen in the past-a system of compulsory laws which has the use of force at its very core and which claims to emanate from God. It is called Sharia Law.

In 2010, an exhaustive study was published by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as Shariah. The study was designed to provide a “second opinion” on the official assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government, which assessments included co-existence, accommodation, and even submission. By permission, much of the following is taken from this study.

What is Sharia?

The Arabic word “shariah,” according to one modern English-language student textbook on Islam, “literally means a straight path (Quran 45:18) or an endless supply of water. It is the term used to describe the rules of the lifestyle ordained by Allah. In more practical terms, shariah includes all the do’s and don’ts of Islam.” In other words, shariah is held by mainstream Islamic authorities – not to be confused with “radical,” “extremist” or “political” elements said to operate at the fringes of Islam – to be the perfect expression of divine will and justice and thus is the supreme law that must comprehensively govern all aspects of Muslims’ lives, irrespective of when or where they live. Shariah is characterized as a “complete way of life” (social, cultural, military, religious, and political), governed from cradle to grave by Islamic law.

While there are a few additional sources for sharia, the most notable and authoritative is the Quran. In Islamic parlance, the Quran is considered to be the uncreated word of Allah. According to Muslim belief, it has existed since the beginning of time and was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel in the 7th Century to the Prophet Mohammed in the Arabic language of his homeland. It is interesting to note that the verses in the Quran are not compiled in chronological order of revelations but are organized from longest to shortest. This presents confusion in trying to read the Quran. Also, there is really no central authority to clarify or interpret the versus, so many are left to their own understanding of the writings.

While many, many millions of Muslims around the world do not practice their faith in a manner consistent with shariah, those who do practice shariah have grounds for arguing that their version of Islam is the authoritative one because of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation-which holds that the later verses supersedes or abrogates the earlier ones. As a result, the later verses become much more violent and forceful in relation to non-Muslims. For example:

“Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever ye find them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war. But if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Q 9:5)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, even if they are of the people of the Book [meaning Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [taxes on non-Muslims] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Q 9:29)

Shariah is Anti-Constitutional

Whether pursued through the violent form of jihad (holy war) or stealthier practices that shariah Islamists often refer to as “dawa” (the “call to Islam”), shariah rejects fundamental premises of American society and values:

  1. the bedrock proposition that the governed have a right to make law for themselves;

  2. the democratic republic governed by the Constitution;

  3. freedom of conscience; individual liberty

  4. freedom of expression (including the liberty to analyze and criticize shariah);

  5. economic liberty (including private property);

  6. equal treatment under the law (including that of men and women, and of Muslims and non-Muslims);

  7. freedom from cruel and unusual punishments; an unequivocal condemnation of terrorism (i.e., one that is based on a common sense meaning of the term and does not rationalize barbarity as legitimate “resistance”); and

  8. an abiding commitment to deflate and resolve political controversies by the ordinary mechanisms of our democratic republic, not wanton violence. The subversion campaign known as “civilization jihad” must not be confused with, or tolerated as, a constitutionally protected form of religious practice. Its ambitions transcend what American law recognizes as the sacrosanct realm of private conscience and belief. It seeks to supplant our Constitution with its own totalitarian framework.

America’s Founders and Islam

America’s earliest presidents best understood these founding principles. They were not only deeply involved with their formal adoption, but they were professionally competent in explaining them. When confronted with an Islamic threat, they took the effort to consult primary sources and to conduct competent analysis of that threat.

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, ambassador to France, and John Adams, ambassador to England, met with the emissary of the Islamic potentates of Tripoli to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, regarding the demands for tribute being made at the time by the so-called Barbary Pirates.

Afterwards, Jefferson and Adams sent a four-page report to the Congress describing this meeting. The relevant portion of their report reads:

“We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretentions to make war upon Nations who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

“The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their prophet, that it was written in their Qur’an, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

John Adams’ son and our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, whose formative years coincided with the founding of the republic, offers further insights into the early presidents’ views on this subject. Like many Americans, he took an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. And, when faced with an Islamic enemy, he understood his obligation to be educated on the factual aspects of the principles, doctrines, objectives, jurisprudence and theology of shariah that comprised his enemy’s threat doctrine.

John Quincy Adams’ 136-page series of essays on Islam displayed a clear understanding of the threat facing America then – and now, especially from the permanent Islamic institutions of jihad and dhimmitude. Regarding these two topics, Adams states:

“…[Mohammed] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…. The precept of the Quran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that [Mohammed] is the prophet of God.

“The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute. As the essential principle of [Mohammed's] faith is the subjugation of others by the sword; it is only by force, that his false doctrines can be dispelled, and his power annihilated.

“The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

“This appeal to the natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Quran. The document [the Quran] does not attempt to disguise it, nor even pretend that the enmity of those whom it styles the infidels, is any other than the necessary consequence of the hatred borne by the Mussulmen to them – the paragraph itself, is a forcible example of the contrasted character of the two religions.

“The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike – all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war – it has softened the features of slavery – it has humanized the intercourse of social life. The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance. Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of Christians. Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties. No state paper from  a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race. The Ottoman lays it down as the foundation of his discourse.”

In conclusion, it is clear from the writings of several of our earliest presidents, as well as the texts of the nation’s founding documents, that American principles are not at odds with – and imperiled by – some “radical” or “extreme” version of Islam. Rather, it is the mainstream doctrine of shariah that constitutes the threat to the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms it enshrines. That incompatibility has several practical implications: For one thing, the shariah legal code cannot be insinuated into America – even through stealthy means or democratic processes – without violating the Constitution’s Article VI Supremacy Clause, which requires that the Constitution “shall be the supreme Law of the land.”

Even more reprehensible is the willingness of some among America’s elites, and it would appear even a subset of its elected leaders, to accede to these groups’ increasingly insistent contention that shariah is compatible with the U.S. Constitution. In fact, based on shariah’s tenets, its core attributes – especially its intolerance of other faiths and disfavored populations and its bid for supremacy over all other legal or political systems, there can be no confusion on this score: As the Framers fully understood, shariah is an enemy of the United States Constitution. The two are incompatible.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

Source: Guandolo, John; Gaffney, Frank; Lopez, Clare; McCarthy, Andrew; Cooper, Henry; Brim, Christine; Del Rosso, Michael; Coughlin, Stephen; Woolsey, Jim; Boykin, William (2010-09-22). Shariah: The Threat to America. Center for Security Policy Press. Kindle Edition.

In honor of Veterans Day here is a poem worth reading!

~ Author unknown ~

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where
of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
For old Bob has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing,
Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state.
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young.
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Someone who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, though small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier–
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end?

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier’s part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.”


Patriotism – Pass it on!