Today, thousands of people will unfurl Old Glory to honor a lesser known patriotic observance – Flag Day. As they raise the red, white and blue, their minds and hearts will be on the nation it represents, their homeland. Some may even silently recite the pledge of allegiance, including that two-word phrase that always seems to spark so much controversy.
Those two words weren’t officially added to the pledge until 1954 by a Joint Resolution of Congress. They were taken from a speech with which most of us are familiar. When Congress passed the resolution, President Eisenhower lent his support:
Then, on the steps of the Capitol Building, Eisenhower became the first person to recite the pledge with the words “One Nation Under God.”
There is much debate about whether American was founded as a Christian nation or is truly “under God.” Recently, I read an article published in Forbes magazine that discusses this topic at length and argues both sides fairly well. The author, Bill Flax, concludes that America was not necessarily founded as a Christian nation, but points to the fact that its people were largely comprised of Christians, and, therefore, influenced the secession from Britain, revolution, as well as the establishment of its tenets and many governing documents. Flax also concludes, based on evidence, that the American Revolution would not have been successful were it not for the faith and moral principles of its people.
It is my firm belief that God had a divine purpose for America to become its own nation, for Christian principles to define that nation and for the collective involvement of specific people in the forming of that nation, including my great-grandfather Peter Francisco. Apart from his heroic contributions to the achievement of American independence, that is the ultimate truth I hope people to take away from Peter's story, and in every medium I use that tells that story.
I also believe, as Americans who benefit from that sacrifice, it is our duty to pass on the truth about history to future generations, starting with our own families.
“For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today? But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” (Deuteronomy 4:7-9, NLT)
In this way, we all become founding fathers.
Let us commit to sharing and illustrating the faith of America’s original founding fathers, her people, their unwavering courage in the face of adversity and their conviction to establish a new nation under God.
Twitter: #OneNationUnderGod or @peterfrancisco