Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Citizens, Not Subjects.

Res Publica
Citizens, Not Subjects.
July 4, 2014 -- by David Trumbull

On this date in 1776 the delegates to the Second Continental Congress declared that the people they represented were citizens of the United States and not subjects of His Britannic Majesty, George III.

The document by which this shift of allegiance and status was proclaimed is tripartite. The preamble contains a general justification of self-government. It ends with the formal declaration of severance of ties to Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America. Between the beautiful prose of "When in the Course of human Events..." and "We hold these Truths to be self-evident…" and the precise legal statement of the resolution for independency in the final paragraph lies an enumeration of the outrages of King George III which justify this revolutionary act.

To declare that men and women are not subjects of a monarch but citizens of a republic was both revolutionary and prophetic. To quote part of a prayer for Independence Day "...The founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn..." It was also rooted in history.

The Founders looked back to the ancient democracy of Athens, the republic of Rome, and to the words of the Hebrew prophet Samuel. In Chapter 8 of the First Book of Samuel we are told that the elders of Israel came to Samuel and asked him make them a king like all the nations. Samuel relayed this request to God, and the Lord said to Samuel:

"Tell them this will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:

"He will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest.... (1 Sam. 8:12) and

"He will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers." (1 Sam. 8:13) and

"He will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. (1 Sam. 8:14) and

"He will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. (1 Sam. 8:16)

Compare those verses to this indictment of King George III in the Declaration of Independence: "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

The Declaration continues: "He has kept among us, in times of peace standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures."

Now compare that to:

"He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. (1 Sam. 8:11) and

"He will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them ... to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots." (1 Sam. 8:12)

The Declaration goes on to indict the King for: Imposing Taxes on us without our Consent."

The Lord, through Samuel, had something to say about that as well"

"He will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. (1 Sam. 8:15) and

"He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. (1 Sam. 8:17)

The passage from the Old Testament ends: "And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day." It would be many centuries before men and women would live as citizens rather than subjects. That is why we celebrate the Fourth of July.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Buy a Poppy for a Disabled Vet

POST-GAZETTE Res Publica
Buy a Poppy for a Disabled Vet
by David Trumbull -- May 25, 2012

Each year I see fewer and fewer men on the street wearing remembrance poppies on Memorial Day, since 1971 celebrated on the last Monday in May. One year I couldn’t even find anyone selling Buddy Poppies, the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans.

Ninety years ago, before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW conducted its first poppy distribution, thus becoming the first veterans' group to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

In 1924 the VFW registered with the U.S. Patent Office the trademark right to the name Buddy Poppy. The VFW guarantees that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name Buddy Poppy.

When you buy your Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day you will be giving material aid to a disabled veteran. And when you wear your Buddy Poppy you will be, to everyone who sees you, a reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day.

The American Legion also sells crepe paper poppies for Memorial Day. That is another fine organization worthy of your support.

Although the United States Department of Veterans Affairs states “The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day” many of us do join our friends from the British Commonwealth nations in wearing the red poppy of remembrance on November 11th as well.

This Memorial Day remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to cause of liberty.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch: be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

—John McCrae (1872-1918)

Friday, February 17, 2012

POST-GAZETTE, Res Publica
The Wisdom from Washington
by David Trumbull
February 17, 2012

Wednesday is the 280th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Since 1971 Washington's Birthday has been observed, as a public holiday, on the third Monday in February. The day is commonly called "Presidents Day," but the legal name remains, "Washington's Birthday."
"First in war—first in peace—and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and enduring scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting. To his equals he was condescending, to his inferiors kind, and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender; correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues. His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life—although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his well-spent life. Such was the man America has lost—such was the man for whom our nation mourns." -- Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee
We could do no better, in reflecting on the life and influence of President Washington, than to consult his 1796 Farewell Address to the nation written as he prepared to retire from public life. It was almost immediately reprinted in newspapers across the country and later in pamphlet form.

In the address Washington argues that the Union of the States "ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty: and that "there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands." He warns against sectionalism: North versus South, or Atlantic versus West. He praises the Constitution, which he declares, "improved upon [the Articles of Confederation]" and "better calculated than [the Articles] for an intimate union." The Constitution, he says, "till changed by an explicit and authentic at of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all." As every schoolboy knows, he then goes on to warn against factions and "the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally."

Washington stresses the need for religion and morality if the republic is to be preserved. And he exhorts to maintain good public credit and to be careful with regard to public debt "not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear." Finally Washington warns against foreign alliances.

The full text of the Address is available at libraries and online. It's just a pity someone can't feed it into President Obama's teleprompter!