Tuesday, June 30, 2015
It's a story I love to tell every time July the 4th rolls around.
Indeed, the privileges of living in the U.S. are blessings to give thanks for every time we go to church and exercise our right to worship.
In 1954, when my parents concluded their first term of missionary service in the Belgian Congo, we returned to the U.S. for a furlough. Approaching New York Harbor on the Queen Elizabeth, we were moved by the sight of the Statue of Liberty. And when a customs official greeted us with a hearty “Welcome home!”, tears rolled down my mother's cheeks.
Settling into our Manhattan hotel room, we had one more thing to do to complete our arrival -- find the nearest drug store, sit down at a soda fountain, and order chocolate malts and hamburgers. We did, and when Dad finished eating, he said in a loud voice, “That's the best meal I've had in four years!”
It was a proclamation that, no doubt, drew stares from nearby customers. It didn't matter, though. All that mattered was that we were home.
On July the 4th, we celebrate the birth of our nation. And chief among the blessings of U.S. citizenship is its (don't worry -- I'm not going to say “chocolate malts and hamburgers”) freedoms. I say that from the heart, having been to parts of the world where tyranny prevails. Visit a country where the government tramples on the fundamental rights of its people, and you're stirred by the fact that yours is a nation founded upon human rights.