By Ralphine Major

When winter’s wrath paralyzed our nation last February with weeks of snow and ice, ninety-degree days and summer holidays seemed so distant.  By the time this column is printed, we will have celebrated our nation’s independence.  “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The Star Spangled Banner” can send a chill even in tepid temperatures.  A photo by Dale Hall captures one family that symbolizes so much of what makes America great—faith, family, and freedom.

Four generations of the McGinnis Family are shown on the lawn of Clapp’s Chapel United Methodist Church for the special Memorial Day service this year:  the first, Perry and Carol McGinnis; second, Roland, younger son of Carol and Perry, and husband of Linda; third, Joshua Perry McGinnis, grandson of Carol and Perry, and son of Roland and Linda; and fourth, Parker Perry McGinnis, son of Joshua and Alyson McGinnis, grandson of Roland and Linda, and great grandson of Carol and Perry.  Little Parker will not remember the day, but he will have the picture as a treasured keepsake.  He will learn the importance of family, of church as a spiritual compass in life, and of those like his great grandfather who served our country.  Though his mother was not present due to job commitments, she will surely beam with pride at the sight of her young son surrounded by family on a day marked with so many memories and the creation of new ones.

On the Fourth of July and always, may Americans never forget those who fought for our nation,  those like Perry McGinnis who have protected her through the generations, and those who are defending her today.  To them, we owe our utmost gratitude.  May God continue to bless America, keep her safe, and make her strong.  “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)