March 5, 1836: Texas Lt. Colonel William Travis, 26, admitting the hopeless situation in their defense of the Alamo, draws his
March 5, 1836: Texas Lt. Colonel William Travis, 26, admitting the hopeless situation in their defense of the Alamo, draws his "Line in the Sand," and tells his men, "Those prepared to give their lives in freedom's cause, come over to me!"

We all know the facts and/or the legend of “The Siege of the Alamo” in San Antonio, Texas in late February and early March of 1836.  A pitifully small number of Texans (or “Texians”) and American volunteers (about 180 men) determined to defend a small mission church called the “Alamo” that they had previously captured from its small Mexican garrison, fortified it, and eventually resisted a vastly superior enemy force—the Mexican Army under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (1794-1876) for 13 days of glory”.  The Commander of the Alamo’s defenders, young Lt. Colonel William Travis, age 26, realizing that his situation by early March, 1836 was virtually hopeless, vowed to defend the Alamo to the end.  Gathering the remaining defenders on March 5, 1836, Travis, according to the “Legend of the Alamo”, gave a short talk to his ragged and battle-weary men. 

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Rev. Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895). An American Baptist Pastor, Journalist and Author, wrote the words to the hymn,
Rev. Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895). An American Baptist Pastor, Journalist and Author, wrote the words to the hymn, "America" (My Country 'Tis of Thee) in 1831 in Boston.

Back in 1988, during one of our trips to Boston,  my wife and I found ourselves wandering around the ancient Old Granary Burial Ground.  That historic 1660 cemetery is right next to the almost as historic Park Street Church, which was built in 1809.  Being July 4, the church was open to those walking The Freedom Trail, so we went into the beautiful sanctuary.  During our visit, a guide informed us that it was there at Park Street Church, back in 1831, that the beautiful patriotic hymn, America, better known as, My Country, ‘Tis of Thee, was first sung.  The inspiring lyrics were written by Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), who was at the time a student at the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts. 

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What kind of courage does it take to climb into an aircraft during wartime, knowing that as you take your cramped battle station within, it may be the final time you do so?  I can only imagine the thoughts that must race through the minds of our military warriors who find themselves in that precarious position, be it on land, on the sea, or in  the air, as they prepare to put themselves in harm’s way to battle an enemy who is determined to kill them.  Only God knows how many people generally throughout world history, and how many Americans specifically, have faced that life or death question as they resolutely determined to face the enemies of freedom, tamping down their fear as they pondered whether or not they’d ever return home.

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WHAT DOES PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLING MEAN?

Apparently there are those among our U.S. population who have misconceptions about what our venerable and ceaselessly  attacked U.S. Constitution says about the proper method of “protesting”, or “peacefully assembling” in order to deliver a focused message from a large number of citizens to our elected government representatives.  Considering the degree of IGNORANCE exhibited by most of the American people today regarding what our increasingly ignored 1787 Constitution mandates, plus what our 1791 “Bill of Rights” specifies strongly in Amendment No. 1, it is not surprising that the enemies of our liberties have such an easy time convincing large segments of the populace that “violent protesting”, “looting” and “attacking and/or murdering” those with whom one disagrees politically are as “American as apple pie”.  If that’s what you believe, YOU ARE WRONG—VERY, VERY WRONG!

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One of my favorite subjects to write about in this august journal of truth has always been the lives of extraordinary people, especially when they are Christians, and most particularly when they have turned from a Devil’s Disciple to one of God’s Children – from sinner to saint.  Those are the people I love to write about, to share with my readers their beliefs, their values, their strengths and weaknesses, their deeds, their fears,  and their valor that we of the present might emulate to some degree.

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America

“O, America you’re calling, I can hear you calling me: You are calling me to be true to thee—true to thee I will be.

O, America you’re weeping, Let me heal your wounded heart.  I will keep you in my keeping, ‘til there be a new start.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand, And lead you to the sun; And I will stand by you, do all that I can do, And we will be as one.

O, America I hear you, From your prairies to the sea; From your mountains grand, and all through this land, You are beautiful to me.

And, O, America you’re calling.  I can hear you calling me; You are calling me to be true to thee, true to thee I will be.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand, And lead you to the sun; And I will stand by you, do all that I can do, And we will be as one.

O, America you’re calling…… I will ever answer thee.”

This beautiful song, with words by Brendan Graham and glorious music by William Joseph, was written in 2008 exclusively for that absolutely wonderful Irish singing group called Celtic Woman as they prepared the music for their fourth fabulous DVD at Powerscourt House and Gardens in Ireland in 2009, in advance of their 2010 tour of the U.S.  

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As a Christian, I realize that Planet Earth will never experience true “freedom” until our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, returns to set up His Kingdom.  That goes for our troubled country, also.  But until that blessed day we as imperfect human beings must live with an imperfect, or incomplete,  concept of freedom—of the political and social kind—in terms that our finite minds can grasp.  If you’ve read my columns in the past, you know that I discuss the concepts of freedom, liberty, and responsibility quite often.  So please indulge me as once again I plunge into the “nostalgia” of the past—a time when these concepts were better understood, more highly treasured, fiercely defended, and discussed with peers who believed in those same values.  Perhaps some of you, like me, are still around to pass some of these valuable concepts to younger generations, who are learning, or soon will be, the life lesson that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, NOR WILL IT EVER BE SO!

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Author Arthur Thompson

“A conspiracy is nothing but a secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit in public.” - Mark Twain

“But ‘tis strange, and often times, to win us our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.”

William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”, Act 1, Scene 3 (First performed in 1606).

(Or, in modern English, the agents of evil often tell us part of the truth in order to lead us to our destruction.  They earn our trust by telling us the truth about “little” things, but then they betray us when it will damage us the most.)

This is a long review, but it’s a long book!  Stay with me.

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When the righteous are in authority (a-or are increased), the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people sigh.” - Proverbs 29:2  1599 Geneva Bible

“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” - Proverbs 29:2 N.I.V.

Last time I ended with the contention that “neither of our two main political parties are the same NOW as they were originally…”.  The perception has been that what we see today—the Democrat and Republican Parties as they currently exist—is what they have always been.  But that is not the case. 

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I could also have stated in this article’s title that “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ISN’T MUCH BETTER”!  But for now I’ll proceed with this condemnation of The Klan of New Bolsheviks (formerly called the ‘Democrat Party’), at the risk of offending a sizeable portion of our American electorate.  I ask my readers to keep in mind the old truism that  often “the truth hurts”, and if that truth offends those of you who are perennial Democrats, so be it.  As the long-suffering Capt. Rhett Butler finally admitted at the end of Gone With The Wind, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a …..”   Well, I assume you can finish his memorable quote, which adequately expresses my ‘concerns’ over whether or not you who call yourselves faithful Democrats (or as I charitably call you—“Dumbocrats”) can make any kind of logical counter-arguments to my contentions.

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“They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary”  ~  Isaiah 40:31                                  

Eric Liddell (1902-1945) - Christian Missionary - God's
Eric Liddell (1902-1945) - Christian Missionary - God's "Gold Medalist."

Some people seem “born to run”.  I was never one of that number, but some men and women make it look easy; their Creator apparently blessed them with “swift genes”.  One of these people who loved to run was a Scotsman named Eric Liddell (1902-1945).   God blessed Eric with a love for running that I never had, to such an extent that he was awarded a Gold Medal in the 1924 Paris Olympics for winning the “400 Meter” race, an event in which he had been given almost no chance of medaling, for his true specialty was the “100 Meter” race, from which Liddell had previously withdrawn.  Why would a world-class runner withdraw from an event that he was favored to win?  Therein lies the story of this special man, the future missionary who seemed to have “wings on his feet”, and who left the world of sports to serve his LORD and Savior in China.

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Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), as he appeared as a young man.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), as he appeared as a young man.

Music begins where the possibilities of language end.”  So said one of my favorite classical music symphonists, the great Finnish master composer and violinist, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957).  He was correct in his observation, because as William Congreve so cogently reminded mankind way back in 1697, Music has charms to sooth a savage breast”.

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James Russel Lowell (1819-1891). Lines are from one of his most famous poems,
James Russel Lowell (1819-1891). Lines are from one of his most famous poems, "The Present Crisis," written in 1844.

I’d venture a guess that most readers of this beacon of truth know at least some of the words to James Lowell’s (1819-1891) great 1844 poem—a 90 line masterpiece titled, The Present Crisis”.  It was first published in 1845 by The Boston Currier, written  as a protest against the impending war with Mexico and as a condemnation of the existing evil institution of slavery, which had been incorporated into the new Republic of Texas in 1836.  In 1896, Garrett Horder took Lowell’s epic poem and condensed it into the shorter but more familiar hymn—“Once To Every Man and Nation”-- that most Protestant Christians have always known.  Both versions contain inspiring, beautiful, and quite troubling ideas  which have “pin pricked” my thoughts for decades.  To a certain extent, Lowell’s words still stand as a “two edged sword” ready to condemn those of us alive today with their thrust into our complacency, as lines #26 through #30 eloquently proclaim: 

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Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) - Two American Hereos of
Jay Silverheels (Tonto) and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) - Two American Hereos of "Yesteryear." Their horses were named "Scout" and "Silver." Silver had a part in the legendary fillm "Gone With The Wind" as the horse ridden by Scarlet O'Hara's father, Gerald O'Hara on Tara Plantation.

One of America’s true “heroes of yesteryear” was a stalwart, ostensibly  imaginary icon from those long gone Old West days “when men were men” (and women were happy that they were)—a true “role model” who, beginning on January 30, 1933, began to  thunder across the plains of our minds riding his great white stallion, ‘Silver’.  The America of my youth (mid-1930’s to the late 1950’s)—and perhaps yours also—was a time of similar heroes who existed in the realm of imagination, and in the tales of folklore so avidly listened to over that “pictureless contraption” called a ‘radio’.  Kids and adults sat in front of that electronic wonder, with its’ single poor quality speaker, long before the days of television, cell phones, the internet, space travel, identity politics, texting, and (thank God) “social media”,  and we were forced to use our MINDS—our imaginations—as a thrilling tale went audibly  into our ears and unfolded onto the personal “screens” of our own built-in movie theater that existed inside our heads.

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Boudica, Queen of the British Celtic Iceni Tribe in Eastern Britian. Died ca. 60 or 61 A.D. Fighting for the freedom of her people.
Boudica, Queen of the British Celtic Iceni Tribe in Eastern Britian. Died ca. 60 or 61 A.D. Fighting for the freedom of her people.

She was tall, had tawny (perhaps reddish) hair that hung down to her waist.  She had a harsh, commanding voice and a quite piercing gaze when she looked at someone.  She always wore a necklace of gold (probably what we call a ‘torc’), a very colorful tunic, and usually she wore a heavy cloak fastened at the neck by a brooch.  So she was described by the ancient Roman historian, Cassius Dio (c. 155 A.D.-c. 235 A.D.), long after her death. 

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Brave Words from determined people.
Brave Words from determined people.

Some of the following words are mine—but the original thoughts are not.  ALL of these concepts and words of wisdom belonged originally to others who pondered Freedom’s Principles before me—in some cases hundreds or thousands of years before.  That’s what makes them so unique, for no matter how “old” these ideas are, they never truly age, because “principles” that can assure—and have done so for centuries—the survival of human liberty are eternal

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