The crowds were all out early for the July 4th parade in Peachtree City. The parade participants were eager to start, and the children lining the parade route were eager to see what goodies were in store for them this year.
Along with the candies was another great treat. Men and women of our Armed Forces joined in to salute America’s birthday. A lump formed in my throat as I watched the crowd clap, cheer, salute, and verbally thank the veterans of today.
We have much to be thankful and a wonderful heritage is waiting to be discovered in old records. One such find of mine was discovered in the Philadelphia area a few years back. My research uncovered an uncle of mine who was a Presbyterian minister in the 1850-1862 time frame. While he was born in Pittsburgh, his preaching assignment was in Philadelphia. This young man wrote eloquent sermons, of which one has survived and is in possession of the family. He died in 1863 of yellow fever while on a missionary trip to Egypt. I’m sad to report he left only a young widow who soon fell and drowned in a bathtub.
One of the churches he probably preached at had another young minister who penned a hymn for the July 4th celebration of 1915. This young minister was Rev. Thomas Garland. His words still carry meaning today and I humbly present them as a tribute to the veterans, past and present.
The Patriot’s Hymn
Lord, in thy house this sacred day
We kneel where patriots knelt to pray;
They pledged anew their faith in Thee,
Then took up arms for liberty.
Not is their strength, but in Thy might
They trusted to defend the right;
And Thou didst guide them by Thy hand
And ‘stablished firm our fatherland.
God of the Patriots! Be our guide,
Protect this land for which they died;
Give us our fathers’ faith in Thee,
To live for truth and liberty.
Lord, lead us in the paths of peace
Till wars throughout the world shall cease;
Till Nations’ hate and strife have died
And righteous peace and love abide.