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!
I’ve long been a student of World War 11. I can remember some of that gruesome conflict, from about 1943 on. It’s my “favorite war”. I recall, with longing, the military parades that would be staged for our people right near the end of that conflict, and for a year or two after we and our allies were victorious. Right along our main street, near our house, would march hundreds of servicemen, with their rifles and with a band leading them, followed by military vehicles—Jeeps, trucks, tanks—all bristling with machine guns and cannons. It was a glorious time to be a little kid. All of us were so proud to be Americans, even if we didn’t fully understand what war meant, or what caused it. With our unbanned toy rifles and pistols (cap guns, of course) we “killed” our share of Nazis and Japanese in our play. There were no politically correct mantras being shrilled by the haters of freedom who accused us of being more responsible for the war than were our enemies. Everyone was proud of our country in those days, and none of us cared one bit for our enemies’ point of view, but only in defeating them as quickly as possible. Even though most of my neighbors and fellow Americans supported the leftist/progressive President Franklin Roosevelt and his unconstitutional machinations over his 3+ terms, we all were proud to be Americans and we all loved our country. I deeply miss those halcyon times! I truly do.
I remember two great leaders from those desperate war years: General Douglas MacArthur of the U.S. and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, both of who contributed much to victory over that era’s “axis of evil” (Japan, Germany, Italy). I fear that many of our countrymen, especially our younger ones, may never have heard of either of these special men, for learning about patriotism and great leaders from our past doesn’t seem to be in favor in our government controlled, politically correct centers of non-educational indoctrination, loosely called public schools. MacArthur and his forces stood almost alone, in those dark days of early 1942, when it became apparent that defending the Philippines (an American possession at the time) was a hopeless task, and President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to evacuate to Australia with his family to organize a new resistance against Japanese aggression. Most Americans my age remember that MacArthur pledged to the people of the Philippines: “I SHALL RETURN”! In 1944 he did, and after much bloodshed, that land was liberated and freedom was restored.
Great Britain, in those dark days when survival of that nation seemed in doubt, rallied around PM Winston Churchill and his defiance of the Nazi hordes during the (air) Battle of Britain in 1940, when he boldly reminded his people that, “Never in the history of the world have so many owed so much to so few”, referring to the Royal Air Force’s victories over the German Luftwaffe (the Nazi Air Force). “Never give in—never, never, never. In the great or small…never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” And he and his countrymen never did, for Brits had real grit and courage in those days, traits that, sadly, have been virtually destroyed by British socialist policies and British liberals’ propensity for idiotic political correctness. The United Kingdom of today is not the Britain of “the greatest generation”. Unfortunately, neither is the United States!
Our America has produced many unique men and women who accomplished what had previously been considered impossible. Let me tell you about one brave and determined man from our nation’s early history. Except for patriotic historians, he has almost been forgotten today, but he made a real difference in his time, for he was a Preacher—a proclaimer of the Gospel. Preachers should always make a difference in their society, and many of them have over the centuries. Have you heard the name, “Rev. Jonas Clark”, before? I’ve often written about him in The Times Examiner, and I’ve been to his home just off the historic “Green” in Lexington, Massachusetts, twice over the years. As a country, we owe a lot to Rev. Clark, because if it weren’t for him and his dedication to both God and Country, the U.S.A. might never have existed. Jonas Clark was a well known man, for he was the Pastor—or ‘Parson’—of the little farming village of Lexington. Being well educated, he was perhaps the most influential man in his village, and many of the citizens of Lexington were members of his church, which was Protestant (the denomination, if any, is thought to have been of the Congregational Church government system, which was begun by the Plymouth Pilgrims).
On the night of April 18, 1775, Rev. Clark was having dinner in his home with John Hancock and Sam Adams, two of the most influential men in Boston politics, both of whom were prime instigators of our Glorious American Revolution. This was, of course, the night that Paul Revere (with several others) made his famous ride, warning the countryside: “to arms, to arms--the regulars are out”. Revere eventually made it to Rev. Clark’s home in Lexington, where he warned Hancock and Adams that the British military were looking for them. Clark was asked: If war came, would the men of Lexington fight against British tyranny? I think that I would have liked Rev. Jonas Clark, for instead of saying, “I’ll have to pray about it”, or “ask my deacons or elders what I should do”, he replied: “I have trained them for that very hour.” The village pastor was the organizer of the local militia group, and the very next day, the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired right near his church. The eight men killed at that initial confrontation with tyranny were probably all members of Rev. Clark’s congregation. After the shooting had stopped, this stalwart pastor preached about the dead members of his church, and in great anguish included the statement that we as Americans must never forget: “From this day will be dated the liberty of the world!”
The struggle for American freedom pretty much began in a CHURCH, and the first shots were fired almost next to that same church! How appropriate. This desire for freedom began with courageous pastors who were not afraid to speak out on the great issues of freedom, and about oppression and tyranny. Rev. Jonas Clark was a part of what was called, “The Black Regiment”, because of the black robes these pastors wore in their pulpits. We can still read many of their sermons that thundered throughout New England and the Southern Colonies regarding the evils of governmental tyranny. Would that we had thousands of pastors, priests, and rabbis like Clark in our time, all demanding righteousness and repentance and a rebirth of freedom. From that day, indeed, would date the resurgence of liberty throughout our land.
I opened this article by discussing my memories of WW11, perhaps the last time that almost all Americans were united in a common cause. There was a wonderful and patriotic song composed during those dark early days of that terrible war, when the Brits were almost alone in resisting the Nazi hordes, and the specter of their defeat was ominously apparent. The song was: The White Cliffs of Dover, written in November, 1941 by two Americans---the music’s composer, Walter Kent, and the lyricist, Nat Burton. This was one of the most popular songs of that era in both Great Britain and in America. As a little kid, I heard it played often at our house, being made most famous in England in 1942 by the great Vera Lynn, as she sang it to British troops, and also made into a top hit in the U.S. in 1942 by the incomparable voice of our equally great Kate Smith.
The White Cliffs of Dover are real chalk cliffs on the coast of England. During those truly dark days of 1940, during the seemingly endless bombing of England by the Nazis, many of the British people sent their children out into the countryside to safe places to escape the wrath of the barbarians and their relentless bombing of London and other British cities. This song was an important part of my childhood, and was a tribute to the “brave hearts” of mankind in England, and later in the U.S., who fought in that terrible war. I urge you to enter “The White Cliffs of Dover” on your browser, and listen to EITHER Vera Lynn or Kate Smith (preferably both) singing it. You’ll be listening to history if you do. Here are the lyrics—perhaps they’ll again give Americans comfort in this, our time of facing our own “barbarians”, both the foreign AND domestic kind:
“There’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
There’ll be love and laughter, and peace ever after,
Tomorrow, when the world is free.
The shepherd will tend his sheep,
The valley will bloom again,
And Jimmy will go to sleep, in his own little room again.
There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
The American lyricist, Nat Burton, was not aware that “blue birds” were NOT native to Great Britain, but it’s the sentiments that count. SOMEDAY, when the world is free, perhaps there will be “bluebirds” flying over those white cliffs of Dover. I can hardly wait!