Americans: a peculiar people

  www.docross.com Dr. Ross L. Riggs The Ministry Minute: When there’s only a minute for ministry.

     And then there were few… yet they still stood strong. The general’s huge army could be seen for miles across the dusty desert. The dust that rose up to meet the nostrils of the hundreds of horses covered the horizon with a thick darkness, foretelling the gloom that was to come. It is not difficult to imagine the few conversations between the men left to guard the small mission outpost. They knew their role was to delay the northward march of Santa Anna’s army in his desire to retrieve, for his country Mexico, land that would become ‘the Lone Star State’. Those who stayed were volunteers. They knew they were certain to die. Their death scene would become a place of honor, a crypt of sorts, a monument to something awe-inspiring. Certainly, to this day, it is a place where visitors are asked to remain respectfully quiet to honor the brave deeds of those whose last breath was the same dust caking the Mexican army horses’ nostrils. If one could ask those men, in those last moments, if they had the chance to decide all over again whether they would agree to stay, there is no doubt that they would. After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.

The air was more turbulent than calm this morning as their flight gained altitude coming up from the tarmac briskly to make room for the next waiting jet filled with commuters ready to begin their day. It was only a handful of time, really, not enough time upon which to decide about a lifetime; but in that handful of minutes, the world changed, each person on that flight was about to share a destiny with the men of that desert mission over a hundred years before. These folks had not volunteered to die heroes’ deaths, to wait out the on-coming attack for hours as the brave men of the Alamo had done. Theirs’ was a destiny thrust upon them; but one from which they did not recoil. Their actions were also needed to hold off an enemy and not allow him a victory strike against their homeland.  When their time came to give everything they had, and to die as one; in a manner no modern day group of civilian patriots had ever done, their response was “Let’s roll.” After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.  

e pluribus omnibus pecularus

In a non-descript auditorium, families gathered in the early morning hours to anxiously await their sons. They had gathered from 39 states and two foreign countries across both the Atlantic and the Pacific to spend a very short 36 hours with their sons. There was no fancy celebration, no glory-filled pomp; just young men, finishing a phase of their training with a chance for a short break before returning to their task. Every single one of the young men who had spent two and a half months in the grueling Georgia sun and survived sleepless nights in between times of rigorous training were volunteers. Those hundreds of men were joining thousands who before them had crossed these same sandy training fields to prepare to go against ‘all enemies, foreign and domestic’ and every one of these soldiers, a volunteer. After all, those Americans are a peculiar people.

One time, not too long ago, there rose up among the American people, a politician (and they defined ‘politician’ with all the bad taste the culture had come to expect). The people elected this politician as President. He told some who would listen that Americans were not exceptional, not much different, if at all, than those in the rest of the world. He approached the enemies of the American people and sought to be their friends. He traveled to a nation in a faraway land where the dreams of democracy are not respected and people are not treated as they should, and this President got down to his knees and bowed in homage to a king who does not care for the citizens of America. This politician-President found no reason to respect the citizens who sacrifice by becoming soldiers or who place themselves in harm’s way for others in so many ways. His ‘first-lady’ declared that she had not found any reason to be proud of America. Both she and her politician husband refused to neither salute the flag of their country nor appreciate its anthem. Perhaps the people who voted for this politician-President thought he would make a difference, and many say he has, though not in a good way. But, most of America holds out hope and seeks to correct their mistake in a legal and bloodless way through the voting booth. And still, the volunteers step forth, ready to do whatever it takes to protect this land that they find so exceptional. After all, Americans are a peculiar people. 

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