We Americans commemorate July 4th as our national birthday, and well we should! Yet we could just as easily celebrate July 3rd, for this is the day America had its new birth of freedom.
After two bloody years of civil war, two armies met for three awful days in 1963 in a little known town called Gettysburg. From July 1st through the 3rd, men in blue fought men in gray. When a low stone wall stopped Pickett’s charge on July 3rd, neither side knew what had been achieved. Abraham Lincoln wished for a new birth of freedom, and to a degree, we’ve seen one. Yet few knew on that day that seeds were sown for yet another birth of freedom 75 years later.
On July 3rd, 1938, 1,900 Gettysburg survivors, all old and gray, met one final time. Time really had healed their wounds, resulting in forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Political divisions were long forgotten as former enemies clasped hands across that same stone wall, not as Northerners or Southerners, but as Americans. Former foes, each “right” in their “cause”, had become friends.
July 3rd and the Gettysburg experience provides us collectively, and individually, with a timeless lesson: If we will reach across our stone walls that continue to divide us, then we too can experience a new birth of freedom. I take great comfort in this and hope you will too.
Guest blog by Dave Adams
Adams Investment Strategies
Picture is a 45 star flag from 1986-1908
Have you ever wondered how a choice you made around integrity could affect the future? The History Channel recently ran a mini-series called Hatfields & McCoys. It’s the story of a family feud that spanned decades and resulted in death, destruction, and nearly caused a war between Kentucky and West Virginia. As portrayed on the History Channel, Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, serving as a Confederate captain, made a choice to desert and return home. Was it a choice of integrity? He certainly thought so, since his family was more important than keeping his promise in the midst of a losing war. Yet, he went back on his word. Randall McCoy, serving on the same battlefield as Hatfield, chose to honor his word. The battle was lost and McCoy went to a Union prison for several years. When the war was over, he was released and came home to find Hatfield prospering and having suffered no consequences for desertion, and what McCoy considered a lack of integrity. The murder of a McCoy union soldier by a Hatfield, sparked a series of increasingly violent acts between the families. Bitterness and rage influenced their choices over the next years as the feud spiraled out of control.
Yet the core of the controversy came down to a choice – one that lacked integrity. We’ll never know if Randall McCoy would have been as vengeful if Anderson Hatfield has not deserted. But it give us pause and the opportunity to consider the consequences of not keeping our word. When has a lack of integrity caused massive consequences?
– World.com accountants who wrote letters of resignation when asked to falsify the books, then proceed to do so and told no one. World.com no longer exists.
– John Edwards didn’t honor his marriage vows, lied before the press and voters. While not convicted, his name is mud.
– Steve McNair, former Titan quarterback, violated his marriage vows with numerous affairs – the final one resulting in death.
– Creflo Dollar is in the news having been arrested. If it turns out his daughter lied when she called police at 1 am, what are the potential consequences on the family? What relationships become broken, trust destroyed? T hat’s how family feuds begin.