Spiritual Places #14
As a young boy I would sometimes spy an tall stone monument as we drove just outside of Sioux City, Iowa and I would ask from the back seat of the old Chevy, “Dad, what is that?” He or one of my brothers would then give me a little history lesson on the famous man that it was built to honor. I loved to hear their voices tell of this young man’s courage even though his only real accomplishment was to die. On this day in 1804 Charles Floyd died three months into the voyage of Lewis and Clark, becoming the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the journey. Truly remarkable when you consider the scope of their adventure.
Lewis and Clark left St. Louis in May, heading up the Missouri River with 35 men, called the “Corps of Discovery.” Among the voyagers was Charles Floyd, a young man from Kentucky who had enlisted in the U.S. military a few years earlier. When word went out asking for volunteers to join the expedition to the Pacific, Floyd was among the first to apply. Courageous, energetic, and better educated than most of the soldiers, Floyd was a natural choice. The two co-captains not only selected him to join the mission, they promoted him to Sergeant. After he died, too soon into that marvelous adventure, members of the expedition buried his body on a high bluff overlooking a river that flowed into the Missouri. Lewis read the funeral service, and the two captains concluded the ceremony by naming the nearby stream Floyd’s River and the hill Floyd’s Bluff.
The only one on that amazing voyage to die reminds me of the courage of young men and women who believe in this country and are willing give their all to love it and protect it. I am humbled by their service. So many of you are courageous people who, given the opportunity would do the right and necessary things to protect, serve, and sacrifice for the good of fellow citizens. We have a higher power that directs and judges all things and the good we do may not be measured by oblisques on hillsides but will be judged by the One who is the source of all courage.
Be courageous and do the right thing for yourself and for the good of others.