Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Learning from the past

I have been home for a few days, and finally feel like I have a few minutes to blog, and have about 20 pages worth of stuff to say, but don't worry, I jotted my ideas down, and will try to write out a little at a time. I don't have time to type 20 pages, and I'm sure you don't have time to read 20 pages. I started to work through my pictures from vacation, and discovered we had taken 600 pictures! Oh the joy of digital cameras. :-)

Well, needless to say, I will not put up all 600, and they really boil down to about a couple dozen things or so that each of our kids wanted their individual picture taken in front of. So, as I pick out the best pics, I will put them up.

If you haven't been recently, I would definitely recommend a trip to our nation's capital. Walking around and viewing the many monuments, memorials, and buildings, I felt the weight of history on my shoulders. Realizing anew the significance of all that our founding fathers accomplished in bringing about the United States, all that they stood for and built this country on. I truly believe that in order to make sense of our present and build a vision for the future, we must study the foundation laid in the past.

One of my favorite parts of Washington DC: peppered throughout the buildings and monuments you find hundreds of thought provoking quotes. This one, from the outside of the National Archives building remains one of my favorites:

I think vigilance is sorely lacking in our country today, and I think we see that also in the liberties that we have had to give up.

If businessmen remain vigilant in the oversight and integrity of their companies, government doesn't need to regulate them.

If churches and individuals are vigilant to care for the poor, the government doesn't need to tax extra to meet those needs.

If families are vigilant to care for each other, hold each other accountable, and offer support to one another, the government doesn't need to enter our homes to keep the peace.

If we are vigilant to keep others safe and hold a high standard of behavior we don't need government breathing down our neck everywhere we go.

Vigilance is not selfish. It is not looking out for "#1," but rather remaining attentive, always an eye out for danger, ever aware. It seems we have lost that sense of vigilance, and along with it, some of our liberties as well.

Time and again as I walked through the streets and buildings I felt pride in being an American, and yet at the same time, a bit of sorrow at what we have lost along the way. The revival must begin in our hearts and homes, and then spread like wildfire across this land. We have such a rich history to learn from, that has already given us a framework to build upon.

Of course, many clearly desired, and some do still today, to follow the teachings of Scripture and built this nation around it. As Alexis De'Tocqueville said (you remember this, right, Rachel?), "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." That pretty well sums it up.

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