"...but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." 3 Nephi 22:8

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gettysburg - Part one

The Fourth of July just passed. For us it was a quiet day, included typical Independence Day food and fireworks. We played a game or two and watched "The Music Man," listening to Mrs. Shin sing praises to our country. It is an old family favorite movie, touching on how the 4th of July was celebrated decades ago. But is not deeply patriotic.

As I pondered on my love for this great country I live in, my mind returned to the day we spent with our family in Gettysburg in June. Gettysburg has pulled at me for some time. I have read about Gettysburg and watched documentaries to learn and understand. But so much of Gettysburg eludes me, baffles and puzzles me. I cannot yet keep track of which generals were on which side of the fighting. I cannot keep track of which battle happened when. I cannot keep track of which spot on the battlefield was named what. I cannot comprehend the enormity of it all.

I cannot imagine the face to face combat, the barrage of artillery, the bayonets. The heat of the summer days, the marching, the fear and exhaustion are beyond my ability to grasp. My mind cannot comprehend the death and devastation of human life. I cannot imagine the blood and mangled bodies. How could one stand face to face with a friend or relative and know that one of you is going to die?

Battles have long been fought in this world and in the world before this one. Satan fought against the host of heaven to change Heavenly Father's plan. Nations have fought with each other over land, wealth, and power. Scriptures record story after story of those who have fought to achieve those same things. But often the cause of a battle is to defend against an invading force. Battles have begun in defense of correct and righteous principles. Sometimes the cause of war is for the freedom to believe as one chooses.

I believe that Heavenly Father desires that the land I live in remain free from tyranny. Only in a land where agency is honored and respected can His Gospel thrive. It was to this country that the pilgrims came when they fled religious persecution across the sea. It was in this land that The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through The Prophet Joseph Smith. It was in this land that The Book of Mormon could be translated, published, and placed in the hands of the common man and woman. It was in this land where the building of temples could begin.

Though we may all find much to disagree with in The United States of America - disagreement has been allowed. Death is not instantaneous when one speaks out in opposition. Our nation was founded on the right to speak out, to disagree, and to seek for the best ideas.

End of Part One

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