Not only is it my birthday it is Uncle Sam Day! On this day back in 1852, the New York Lantern newspaper published an Uncle Sam cartoon for the first time. The drawing was the work of Frank Henry Bellew. Through the years, the caricature changed with Uncle Sam becoming symbolic of the U.S. being just like a favorite uncle. A prime example of this symbolism were U.S. Army posters that portrayed Uncle Sam pointing and saying, “I want you!” As a result, many of us joined his ranks.
Uncle Sam always wore a nifty suit of red, white and blue, a hat with stars and stripes down the trousers of both of his long legs. The origins of how he became known as Uncle Sam are varied, but one story was of a dock worker wondering what the words “From: U.S.” on the shipping crates meant. Reportedly, he was told, “This is from your Uncle Sam.” So for me to share this day with one of my favorite uncles is a real treat. I’m glad to be a part of the family. We have much to celebrate on this day. The freedom and opportunity we have is extraordinary. I hope we will find more leaders seeking unity rather than partisan bickering and the blame game.
Our super power status comes not from might but from what is right. Power is only as good as the ethical center of our nation. What are the principals we cherish? What did our founders intended? I decided to read the Bill of Rights this morning to remember. Here are a few words from it:
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
When I finished reading I thought to myself again – my ultimate allegiance is to a higher power. Although, deeply appreciative of my country, I belong to another country – an eternal country. Jesus said, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14) So our ultimate citizenship is of a heavenly country.
So I will celebrate my citizenship today – both of them.