By Ralphine Major

My earliest memories of America’s beautiful symbol was in school classrooms. They were usually mounted on a wall, and every morning we stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. I also remember early summer mornings at Vacation Bible School. Everyone lined up outside at the front of the church. Older students would be asked to carry the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. It was a huge honor to be selected! When the piano music started, two rows of teachers and youngsters marched inside the church with the pastor and those carrying the flags and Bible leading the way.

To most citizens, the American flag is special. As a child, I did not fully understand Old Glory’s significance. I do now. The first American conflict I remember was the Vietnam War. Shortly after my high school years, the war ended. I distinctly remember when the pastor of our small, rural church called and asked us to go to the church and ring the church bell.

Our country has just celebrated another Fourth of July holiday with parades, cookouts, and flags. We are blessed to live in a country called America where we can enjoy so many freedoms because of the many men and women, past and present, who have fought for and defended them. We live in a different time than when my generation marched into Vacation Bible School, however. New issues face our nation. One thing that has not changed is God’s Holy Word. Today, it is even more important to remember the words often quoted from the Old Testament. In our unsettled times, they bear repeating. “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).