The foundation of patriotism

I heard it recently said, “The United States of America did not create religious liberty; religious liberty created the United States of America.” As we approach the celebration of Independence Day, may we not forget the foundation on which this great nation was founded and formed. If we forget the source of our heritage, our nation will crumble; for a structure is only as strong as the foundation on which it is built. Psalm 11:3 instructs: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 1 Corinthians 3:11 tells us what that foundation is, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

While on a trip to France, I was reading a magazine article stating that the United States of America was not a Christian nation. Heartsick, I decided to take a trip to the American Cemetery at Normandy. As I walked into the reception area, an elderly gentleman kindly asked, “Can I help you?” I said, “Yes, I am here to visit the grave of Private First Class Anthony Foglio.” He then unexpectedly asked my name. With a tear in my voice, I responded, “Anthony Foglio.” I then told him that PFC Foglio was my uncle for whom I was named. He was wounded June 6, 1944 and died the June 11, 1944. He was 18 years old. He asked me to wait a moment and returned with a car taking me to my uncle’s grave-site. He placed An America flag on the Omaha beach side of his headstone and a French flag on the land side. He had a small bucket of sand from the beach and rubbed it on the name and serial number of my uncle making it not only more legible, but glisten in the sunlight. I thanked him. He said for me to take as long as I wished and that he would return to take me back.

I lost all awareness of time. I had written a note of things that I would have liked to have been able to tell my namesake uncle; I folded it and placed it behind his headstone. While standing there, numerous groups and individuals passed, British, French, Americans and others. One and all would ask about the soldier buried in plot: E row 28, grave 21. As I told my story, just about everyone would respond the same, with a tear in their eye, they would hug my neck and share some condolence.

The sun was beginning to set; I was standing just about in the middle of the cemetery, and as I turned, I was looking at nearly 10,000 crosses. Close to my uncle’s grave was a small chapel, I walked in and engraved on the marble wall were these words, “As they await their glorious resurrection.” While standing in that hallowed place, this thought came to my mind, “Maybe some would say America is not a Christian Nation, but we sure were in 1944.”

As we celebrate this Independence Day, let us celebrate our independence from tyranny. Yet, let us hold on to our dependence of being one Nation under God.

May God bless America.

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)