Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

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I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness.  We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) continue to reverberate around the world.  In America, we honor his vision of peace, understanding, and justice on the third Monday of every January.  May we all continue to strive for a world filled with the power of love.

Enduring Words

In the United States, the “Pledge of Allegiance” has been recited countless times in school classrooms, at the beginning of meetings, sporting events, and other instances.  The original 29 words were inspired by the writings of Francis Bellamy (from 1892) and became official in 1923.  In 1954, the words, “under God” were added.  These 31 words mean much more than just a mere collection of words.  

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I pledge allegiance

 

We the People, commit to stand

With loyalty across this land

 

To the flag

 

Stars and Stripes shall forever fly

Old Glory standing proud and high

 

Of the United States of America

 

Solidarity, stand as One

United, never be undone

 

And to the Republic

 

A more perfect Union shall spring

Shining democracy will ring

 

For which it stands

 

Tested, resilient, and upright

Faithful courage, nation’s birthright

 

One nation under God

 

Built upon God’s eternal love

Divine guidance comes from above

 

Indivisible

 

Inseparable and lasting

Forged by trial and fire’s casting

 

With liberty

 

Covering this land of the free

Freedom from sea to shining sea

 

And justice for all

 

Conquers inequities with care

Truth and righteousness come to bear 

 

Courtesy of Pinterest.

I have posted this video before, but it is worth a second look.  Here is American comedian, Red Skelton, sharing his interpretation of the words’ meaning in the “Pledge of Allegiance.”  

Monday Memories: America’s Election Night

This poem was originally written in October, 2018.  At the time, it seemed more of a reflective piece, written prior to the elections in November of that year.  The text has been edited to update the overall style, but the original theme remains the same.  In light of the election of 2020, it seems to be an appropriate time to publish this poem again.

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Voting has finally finished for yet another election

Americans have once again made their selections

 

As the election numbers begin to trickle in

People grow anxious to learn who will win

 

The past weeks have bombarded the airwaves with ads

Some of their messages are so negative and very sad

 

Candidates rekindle passions with their positions

Voters seek news outlets with impartial conditions

 

Democratic or Republican, both sides seek votes

Our world seems confused, filling with wild oats

 

Many look back at the past and yearn to return

But so much has changed in taking a wrong turn

 

Any nation steps forward, when citizens rally as one

Coming together, putting country ahead of anyone

 

Falling asleep in his chair, with the television still on

He awakens to see a nation coming together at dawn

 

America is the home of the brave and the land of the free

Let us all make our country as proud as it should really be

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For the People (Elfchen Series #28)

Hear Their Words 

Listening

Founding Fathers

Sharing our cause

Now speaking to us

America

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Unity in Voice

Sunrise

Another day

Freedom for all

A nation stands as

One

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A Dream for All

People

Seeking equality

Hand in hand

All races and creeds

Togetherness

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This series of poems (written in the German-inspired style of Elfchen or Elevenie) joins in a theme of “For the People.”  This phrase was used by American President Abraham Lincoln near the end of his famous Gettysburg Address (follow the link to read the entire speech).

America’s Renewed Declaration

From John 8:32:  “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

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Blessed land stretching from ocean to ocean

Spacious skies wink at fields of abundant grain

Framed in by towering, majestic mountains

God’s Grace covering the land like fruitful rain

 

Lady Liberty extends her message of hope

Calling out, only demanding to breathe free

Ensuring freedom for the huddled masses

Keeping her torch lite, from sea to shining sea

 

Asking God to mend a nation’s ills and flaws

Lifting praises up to the Father above

His glory be forever praised here below

Liberty and freedom shall ring, filled with love

 

Forgiving our nation’s errors and transgressions

Healing hearts of discord, peace now safeguarded

Leading this nation out of its dark wilderness

Remembering an old path, long discarded

 

Nation founded from scratch, with lasting vision

“All men are created equal” crying out

Endowed from the Creator, come certain rights

Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness shout

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“American the Beautiful” is a beloved song.  You are invited to listen to this familiar song as sung by Lee Greenwood by clicking on the American flag below.  God Bless America!

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Values of a Nation (Elfchen Series #20)

Common Ground

Freedom

Many examples

Sheltered from fear

Basic human need for

All

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Working Together

Liberty

Different meanings

Across a nation

Finding common ground as

One

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Moving Forward

Trust

Competing views

Seeking the light

Finding balance for a

Nation

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The German-inspired poetry style of Elfchen (or Elevenie) contains five lines of poetic verse, usually without the use of rhyming verses.  A total of 11 words are used with a sequence of one, two, three, and four words before ending with a single word in the final verse.

House United

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This post takes a different route from my normal avenues of poetry and short stories.  Like many Americans, I pray often for our nation and its future.  I am a husband, father, and grandfather who loves his country, only after God and family.

America has overcome difficult periods throughout its history.  In our past and present times, we sometimes appear to be a very divided nation, and God’s Word says more in this verse from the Gospel of Mark.

From Mark 3:25:  “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

Our nation has overcome past circumstances which threatened to split apart our nation.  Over the years, our leaders have mastered the strength of compromise to move the country forward.

In the 1980s, two American leaders from different political parties, with their own perspectives, came together for a common cause.  President Ronald Reagan (Republican) and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (Democrat) proceeded to craft a better way to make Social Security pensions more sustainable far into the future.  We are still using their compromise today because these two men put aside their individual philosophical differences for the good of the nation.

During World War II, an unprepared nation had to unite in spirit and cooperation to find the means for victory in a world-wide conflict that spanned the globe.  The “Greatest Generation” came together as a nation of brothers and sisters, willing to pay the price for ultimate victory.

A democratic republic requires civilized, respectful public discourse through peaceful assembly of its citizens, passionate debates in its legislative bodies, and a free press articulating the facts.  Many of these are protected in our Constitution under the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) was added to protect the rights of all Americans.  The Federalists favored a strong national government after the ineffective government under the Articles of Confederation following the Revolutionary War.  Opposing this view were the Anti-Federalists who wanted to protect individual liberties, which were a large reason behind the war of independence.  A compromise was reached to “check” the power of the national government—through ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Abraham Lincoln was running for the U.S. Senate in 1858 when he presented a speech, and here is an excerpt.

“A house divided against itself, cannot stand . . . I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

Lincoln lost the election to Stephen A. Douglas, but he would take his place in Presidential history with his election in 1860 to the highest office in the land.

In November, 1863, in the middle of America’s Civil War, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.  His words from the beginning and ending of his speech still resonate today.

“. . . our father’s brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

“. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Our forefathers deliberated over the design of a new form of government for the young nation, and they found ways to compromise and create a lasting union.  This philosophy is very evident in the Preamble of the Constitution.

“WE the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . . .”

As I pray each day for our great nation, I am guided by humility as I bring my thoughts to God.  I am reminded by the insightful words of King Solomon in Proverbs 2:6-8.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of His faithful ones.”

Monday Memories: Journey to America

This poem was originally published in November, 2018.  It has been updated in a few places to enhance the message.  Witness the impact of America’s open door to immigrants with this poem.  

city new york statue of liberty usa

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Images of immigrants arriving at America’s shores

Families hope the United States offers much more

 

Huddled and crowded together on ships bound for another land

Dreaming of moving forward and receiving an outstretched hand

 

Most Americans trace immigrants back to their family roots

Their ancestors arrived ready to energize lives with a boost

 

 

 

Singer Neil Sedaka proclaims the immigrants’ anxious arrival

“The Immigrant” sings of America waiting, without any denial

 

Coming to America is immortalized as Neil Diamond sings

“America” tells a fascinating story that only his lyrics bring

 

Both Sedaka and Diamond write beautiful and appropriate text

America can do better than people shouting, “You are not next”

 

 

 

Imagine the excitement felt upon seeing Lady Liberty

She has welcomed people to America for an eternity

 

Her torch offers a brilliant beacon of new hope and light

America extends a welcoming hand, ending their plight

 

This openhearted Lady, gifted from France, stands solemn

She invites the less fortunate to disembark in long columns

 

 

 

Emma Lazarus, an offspring of immigrants, expresses it best

Her poetic words in “The New Colossus” surely pass the test

 

Her inspiring words paint an ironic and emotional image for all

To see how a mighty Lady and America will forever stand tall

 

 

 

America’s melting pot overflows from a gentle and peaceful place

Tales from immigrants deserve to be heard without undue haste

 

Immigration has recently become a passionate, national debate

America’s history shows patience in opening its welcome gate

selective focus photography of open signage

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The lyrics of “The Immigrant” can be found at Neil Sedaka.

The lyrics of “America” can be found at Neil Diamond.

The verses of “The New Colossus” can be found at Emma Lazarus.

 

Monday Memories: Never Taken for Granted

Here is another edition of “Monday Memories.”  This poem was written back in December, 2018, and its message may be even more relevant today than nearly a year ago.   May America or any nation never take anything for granted.

usa flag waving on white metal pole

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Never taken for granted

 

A young nation moves forward to be brave and free

To remove the shackles of oppression so others see

 

A soldier takes a bullet in a far, distant land

To protect freedoms that will always stand

 

Thomas Jefferson will never have to write a sequel

To state for all to read, “All men are created equal”

 

A minister preaches to a racially divided nation

To envision “free at last” will be his final station

 

A newspaper criticizes the government with much to say

To reinforce freedom of the press is always here to stay

 

A hesitant nation awakens while its other allies fight

To bring her vast resources in a victory full of might

 

A mother takes a stand at a school board meeting

To support a worthy novel that is taking a beating

 

A crowd protests peacefully in a city very near

To bring attention to issues without any fear

 

A writer uses his words to bring an issue to light

To encourage all to make a difference and fight

 

A President hides behind the sins of Watergate

To shamefully resign from office will be his fate

 

Workers strike to protest low wages and more

To organize labor unions to even up the score

 

A young politician inspires and leads the way

To become a worthy leader with much to say

 

Other nations come to the aid of a valued friend

To bring support with the troops that they send

 

Students stare into TV cameras with one voice

Violence in schools is truly not about a choice

 

A former republic declines and fades away

To witness freedom’s erosion without delay

 

Christ’s red blood stains an old rugged cross

To bring a second chance for all who are lost

 

Never taken for granted

 

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