By Ralphine Major

She has always been a light in the world.  This year, she turns 242 years old!  It was on July 4, 1776, when the United States of America gained her independence.  The 4th of July is the national holiday set aside for Americans to celebrate, and there is much to celebrate about our great nation.

America—she has been a refuge to other people and a friend to other nations.  She has weathered wars, disasters, and violence.  Often, she has suffered at the hands of her own people.  Yet, 242 years later, she remains strong.  Most of those who call her home are kind and compassionate, resourceful and resilient, even in the face of adversity.  Since the day of her independence, she has seen much progress, though problems remain.  In her cities and communities, the highways and hillsides are dotted with homes, schools, churches, hospitals, and playgrounds where her people are free to worship, learn, and choose their place in life.  America is a rich nation, full of beautiful lakes and rivers, farms and factories.

As we celebrate this special day in the history of our country, may we each take a moment to reflect on all that has made America great.  Our forefathers created the foundation for a country with laws and freedoms.

Our military men and women have protected and continue to protect her by land, air, and sea, ensuring that our way of life endures.  Her citizens revere their freedom to worship and offer prayers to God for peace throughout this nation and all over the world.

We, her people, must continue on this path to make sure America remains strong.  The surest way to keep America safe and free is to abide by the beloved passage in II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV):  “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.”   As we join family and friends to celebrate with parades and cookouts, have a safe and blessed July 4, 2018!

Happy Birthday, America!