Blessed Are Those Who Gave Us Independence Day

independence day - 4th

Happy July 4th! Happy Independence Day! Happy day when 200 plus years ago, our forefathers signed their names to a document that committed treason against the reigning world power.

As we celebrate today, let us not forget the sacrifices made on our behalf. Let us be grateful for the men and women who rose up against the British. Let us be thankful for the men and women who stayed true to their beliefs on both sides of the Revolution. Thankful for the individuals God chose to found America and the people He established to lead it during our formative years.

Thankful for the Lord’s guidance throughout the centuries. Especially grateful for the millions and billions of soldiers who died in our nation’s wars to give us freedom and to ensure we keep it — for all races, yellow, red, black, and white.

The list goes on. The blessings endless. The mercies ever new.

Gazing at skies bursting with color, recall the flag that miraculously survived the attack on Fort McHenry in 1814. That fateful night that gave us our national anthem.

Tonight, I had the great pleasure of listening to Indiana’s National Guard band perform at our city park. The closing number was a medley of military anthems, and as the band played, we recognized those who serve or have served in our ranks. It reminded me of a poem I read by a French poet, Charles Péguy.

While the essay in which I read the poem has nothing to do with Independence Day, I thought it a fitting piece for today’s celebrations. I hope you enjoy it and the time we have to gather as communities and as a nation and remember our history.

Blessed Are

Blessed are those who died for carnal earth

Provided it was in a just war.

Blessed are those who died for a plot of ground.

Blessed are those who died a solemn death.

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Blessed are those who died in great battles.

Stretched out on the ground in the face of God.

Blessed are those who died on a final high place,

Amid all the pomp of grandiose funerals.

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Blessed are those who died for carnal cities.

For they are the body of the city of God.

Blessed are those who died for their hearth and their fire,

And the lowly honors of their father’s house.

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For such is the image and such the beginning

The body and shadow of the house of God.

Blessed are those who died in that embrace,

In honor’s clasp and earth’s avowal.

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For honor’s clasp is the beginning

And the first draught of eternal avowal.

Blessed are those who died in this crushing down,

In the accomplishment of this earthly vow.

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For earth’s vow is the beginning

And the first draught of faithfulness.

Blessed are those who died in that coronation,

In that obedience and that humility.

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Blessed are those who died, for they have returned

Into primeval clay and primeval earth.

Blessed are those who died in a just war.

Blessed is the wheat that is ripe and the wheat that is gathered in sheaves.

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Written by Charles Péguy

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