Saturday, August 22, 2009

Obama's Charge

I've visited the battle site at Gettysburg and walked among the monuments that dot the landscape. I've listened to park service guide's descriptions and watched re-enactments to try and understand the depth of what happened there. I remember looking out over the battle field and using my imagination to picture "Pickett's Charge".

The monument to the "high water mark" has stayed in my memory. It is still there, right behind the rock fence that the Union soldiers pressed up against in anticipation of the Confederate's advance. It has been preserved for all of us to understand the meaning of that day, so many years ago.

What will we remember of today? What defines our continuing battle to maintain our Republic and our liberty? What will be the catch-phrase that comes to define the importance of this moment, this month, this year? Moreover, will we accept the judgment of history when this moment is defined, but then is a distant memory?

I am reminded of William Wadsworth Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride". I had to memorize that poem when I was in grade school. I failed in my attempt to recite the entire poem (only a very small percentage of my class did), but I have never forgotten the beginning:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

What I'm still left with is the phrase "Hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year." In my youth, I often wished I was there. I cherished the memory of this country's birth and sacrifice. One of my favorite movies is "The Patriot", starring Mel Gibson. I remember watching it and being taken by the character of his son, played by Heath Ledger. I imagined myself being this character, if only to be a part of that history.

We can't appreciate the importance of the moment when we are in the middle of making history. It's sort of like the old saying "can't see the forest from the trees". We listen, we react and we take action, not knowing that what we do will make a difference.

I'm sure that the Union soldiers at Gettysburg had similar thoughts. They did not retreat as General Lee had anticipated they would. They held firm and turned back the tide of the Confederate Army. At the time, they could not have known that their efforts would result in the high water mark. History has shown that they their efforts did, in fact, result in just that.

Similarly, I do not think that we, the people, can know that we have taken a definitive stand against socialism and that its progress has reached its high water mark. I pray that history will remember this year and this time as such. And I thank God for the Sarah Palins and Rush Limbaughs that shore up our ranks.

We will withstand Obama's Charge!

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