What does freedom, liberty and justice mean to you?
This 4th of July marks 238 years since Americans gained freedom from British rule. The Revolutionary War was fought on our own soil by an amateur militia. I have ancestors that have been traced to the Pilgrim colony, but in this post, I will focus on the Jones family tree.
My dad’s side of the family were Jones’. Morgan Jones was a Baptist pastor in Swansea, Wales in 1662. Many of the family were active church members, deacons & ministers. They suffered persecution by the king’s officers, even time in jail. It did not deter them from their faith. Their desire to freely pursue their religious beliefs is what caused the Jones family to leave Wales and come to America. Morgan Jones did not make the overseas voyage, but he had a son, David, who came to the United States to the Welsh Tract of land, along with his wife Esther, in 1710. They settled in Delaware where David became a prosperous farmer and the father to 9 children. His grandson, Abel Jones, was born 1757. Abel fought in the Revolutionary War in the Delaware militia and was hospitalized at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. After the war, his family settled in Pennsylvania.
Abel Jones’ grandson, Jesse Jones, was born in Pennsylvania in 1840. He was a sergeant in Company G of the 85th Regiment of the Union Army in 1864. Jesse Jones was wounded in battle and his brother, Jeremiah, died while a prisoner of war at an enemy camp in North Carolina. While Jesse was away fighting the Civil War, his wife died, leaving behind their 2 young children to be raised temporarily by his mother. Jesse Jones, no doubt, had heard family history of how his grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, of how his great-great grandfather traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to begin a new life in this New World that had yet to become an independent country.
Jesse Jones’ great-grandson was my grandfather, Jack Killion. My grandpa, otherwise known as Opa, served in WWII in Germany and the Aleutian Islands. He met my Oma in Germany. Opa loved telling stories about his time in the Army, about his love for this country, about how his Grandma (whose father fought in the Civil War- remember, Jesse Jones?) would always fly a flag on every US holiday.
That is the quick rundown on my dad’s side of the family. My mom’s side also had men fight in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WWI. All branches of the military have been covered: Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
My husband served in the Navy from 1994-1998. My son joined the Navy October 2010 and will have completed his 4 years of service this October 2014. Needless to say, I love my country and am thankful for all of the service, sacrifice and commitment that these men have made these past 238 years. I am patriotic, yet I also am aware that my country is not without faults. There are many things throughout our history that I can say I am not proud of. Even today, there are events taking place inside of our country, or on foreign soil, that I do not agree with. Yes, there are decisions that the government of my country makes that I am ashamed of. But it does not make me less of an American and it does not take away the gratitude and thankfulness I have for living in a country that has given me immense freedoms and rights that I know would not be granted to me in other countries.
I don’t have to worry about being imprisoned for not being properly clothed as do women in Muslim countries. I do not have to worry about having my home being overrun by crazed militia, forcing me to flee with my family in the middle of the night. I do not have to worry about being imprisoned for homeschooling, and I do have the option to send my children to public school- Their education is guaranteed. I do not have to worry about forced abortions, about my church being set on fire, about my sons disappearing in the night to be forced to fight in a war they do not believe in. I don’t have to worry about being questioned by police because of this very post I’m writing. I do have freedom of speech.
Where is our country heading? Where do I see us in another 238 years? I believe that the US is on a downward spiral in so many ways. We seem more divided as people than we have been since the Civil War. Do we know what we stand for anymore? Do we know what we believe anymore? It seems that the words ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘justice’ have a different definition for everyone. We are not a Christian nation and we are not eternal. Presidents will come and go. Countries will rise and fall. Governments will topple. My faith in Jesus is my Solid Rock, not this country. God Bless America? Yes, may He do so. And may He also bless my friends from many nations around this world. Happy Birthday, Beloved Country of my Forefathers, United States of America!