This morning I listened to the Tabernacle Choir Broadcast celebrating Independence Day. I was particularly moved by Lloyd Newell’s words on patriotism. The questions were asked, “why do we have parades? Why do flags fly? Why do soldiers wear uniforms?” Bro. Newell explained that when we see the flag flying or hear patriotic music playing, it stirs and swells feelings of loyalty and allegiance in our hearts as we remember the hard-fought battle for freedom these symbols bring to mind.
I’m thinking of another hard-fought battle for freedom. One that took place in premortal realms. What are the symbols that remind me of that time and place – the symbols that swell loyalty and allegiance in my heart for the freedoms won in that painful altercation? A Primary song comes to mind…”Whenever I hear the song of a bird or look at the blue, blue sky, whenever I feel the rain on my face or the wind as it rushes by, whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by our lilac tree, I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me.” (Clara W. McMaster, Children’s Songbook, pg. 228). That I have a body and live in this beautiful world is evidence enough of where I stood in that battle. Symbol of the freedom I have inherited in heavenly realms.
Whether rejoicing in the freedom of my native America, or in the blessing of a body and a lovely world around me to enjoy, responsibility is required. I pledge allegiance to my nation as I reverence the sacrifices made that I may live and grow in freedom. I pledge allegiance to the Source and blessing of eternal freedom as I reverence the sacrifice of my Savior, of multitudes of holy prophets, maintain the integrity of covenants made, and remember, remember that it is upon the rock of my Redeemer who is Jesus Christ that I must build my foundation (Helaman 5:12).
Maintaining freedom always requires some struggle. Pledging allegiance and remembering with a ready mind and heart are ways I daily renew my gratitude and commitment to both the national and eternal freedoms which are my precious gifts.