Prayer….Psalms 116:2

Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore, will I call upon Him as long as I Live   Psalms 116:2I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen its miracles and the tender mercies afforded through prayers. I have witnessed miraculous survival and I have witnessed the answered prayer of a child to find a lost object.

Some might say that there is no proof. In matters that concern God and communication with him, I don’t need proof. Statistics could prove the unlikelihood but my heart know the truth and that is all that I need.

I hope that you have seen the miracle of prayer in motion. I hope that prayer blesses your life each waking day!

I hope you love today’s story about prayer as much as I do!

The Down Syndrome Miracle

One afternoon while walking through the lobby of a hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I became aware of a disturbance in one corner of the room. I walked in that direction in that casual way we use to check out disturbances in public places without announcing our curiosity. A boy of about four was screaming and rolling around on the floor in some kind of a fit.

Several people were trying to help the parents control the child. A crowd was gathering. It was a bad situation.

Then the Lord spoke to me.

“I want you to pray with that boy for a complete healing,” he said. It wasn’t an audible voice. But I heard the Lord say this as clearly as I have ever heard anything.

I suspected that the boy had Downs’ Syndrome. I was astonished. Down’s Syndrome is a genetic defect that always causes moderate to severe mental impairment and physical disability. Every cell in that boy’s body had an extra chromosome. Every one of the billions of cells in his body was defective, and I was supposed to pray for a complete healing.

But I had heard the Lord. I took a deep and uneasy breath and went over to the parents; I told them that I wanted to pray for their son. I wanted to imply that the idea was mine, not the Lord’s, in case nothing happened when I prayed.

I put my hands on the child and prayed. He calmed down immediately. I was filled with a sense that at that moment the Lord began to restore him completely.

He was. In the weeks and months following that event, the boy’s development accelerated. The doctors could not find any explanation for it. When they ran the tests they could find no trace of Down’s Syndrome. I still hear from the parents telling me how well he is doing.

Michael Scanlan, TOR Steubenville, Ohio

This is an excerpt from the book, Let the Fire Fall, by Michael Scanlan, TOR, Servant Publications.

Story shared from the following website: http://101prayer.com/story1.html

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Heroes…Are Made by the Paths They (We) Choose

Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with Brodi Ashton

My life has been blessed with many heroes. Some have done things as simple as giving me a ride to church. Others have given me advice. Some have provided a positive example (often without even knowing it).

I hope your life has been blessed with heroes as well!

I believe in heroes and the positive impact they have on our world! I believe that some of the most important heroes the world has ever known has been those heroes that have been known by just one or two individuals. A hero does not have to be world famous to be a hero in my book.

I am especially thankful to those heroes who have overcome significant obstacles and who have persevered despite difficulties. Today’s story tells of one such hero. I hope it will inspire you as it has inspired me!

AN UNLIKELY HERO

CHILDHOOD

As an infant, he was largely abandoned to a nanny. His mother, in fact, rarely saw him. His dad almost never did.

At 7 years old, he was sent to a boarding school where he proved to be literally the worst in his class. His parents got reports that declared their son “seems unable to learn anything.”

He was punished severely, once being dragged into a room and beaten until bloody for school infractions. He changed schools after his nanny discovered welts on his back from the beatings once he was home on break.

He made no friends in school.

His mom rarely visited him and even forgot to send him Christmas presents; His dad also failed to visit him at school—ever—even when he was nearby and his son wrote letters asking him to stop by.

His letters were never even answered. Dear dad didn’t even know exactly how old his own son was.

TEEN YEARS

Later, as a teen, his father wouldn’t let him go to the best school saying his son would just embarrass him, that he was “such a stupid boy.” He just couldn’t accept that kind of public humiliation from that “damned impudent little idiot.”

Again, in high school, he did not fair too well. As if to underscore that fact, on parent visitation days, while other kids’ parents came to see their children, his never did.

The class would march out in rank order, from the highest score to the lowest. He was always dead last. His parents were embarrassed, so stayed home. He felt the sting of it, as he said, “sharply.” Certainly a gross understatement.

COLLEGE

When he proudly wrote his dad telling him he had been accepted into military college, his dad finally wrote back to say, “You are a constant disappointment to me …. Not only are you a complete failure … I see nothing ahead of you but failure… Do not write me anymore; I do not wish to hear anything more from you.”

The same year the son graduated from military college, his dad died in lingering pain and agony after being brought home in a straight jacket, perhaps reflecting the emotional straight jacket he had helped secure around his son’s psyche for so many relentless years.

So who is this failure of a son? Who was it that went nowhere and did nothing? Who was it that was hampered by a loveless childhood with a detached mother and verbally and emotionally abusive father who never understood or cared for his own son?

WHO WAS THIS HAPLESS SON FROM AN UNHAPPY FAMILY?

He was an artist, winning several awards under a pseudonym.

He was a very successful author of several books (one winning him the Nobel Prize) making him a wealthy man.

He was the lone voice who saw war coming in the appeasement policies Nevel Chamberlain brokered with Germany.

He was made Prime Minister of England twice and presided over a successful war against the spread of Nazism.

His name was Sir Winston Churchill.

 

You are endowed with all that’s needed to lift your own life from the past, making something wonderful out of the spare parts.

Caveat: No one’s life is exactly like anyone else’s. So we can’t assume any direct correlation between his and ours.

Still, to see someone who rose from such childhood obscurity with so many emotional obstacles in the way, to such heights of success is inspiring nonetheless.

My hope has been to inspire you to a level of confidence that will be the push behind the next step closer to the life that awaits you.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

So what advice might Churchill offer a person living below their potential, someone trapped in the pain of their childhood, someone who yearns for something better, more meaningful, happier than what they’ve settled for?

He might say what he once told a graduating class of high school students:

“Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up.”

Story shared from the following website: http://meanttobehappy.com/the-extraordinary-story-of-an-unlikely-hero-your-past-does-not-predict-your-future/

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Happy Memorial Day!

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it...It flies with the last breath of each Soldier who died protecting it

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Story shared from the following website: http://storiesofusa.com/give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death-by-patrick-henry-march-23-1775/

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Patriotism…The Dedication of a Lifetime

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime Adlai Stevenson

Farewell Address by President Ronald Reagan – January 11, 1989

Before I say my formal good-bye, maybe I should tell you what I’m up to now that I’m out of office. Well, I’m still giving speeches, still sounding off about those things I didn’t get accomplished while I was president.

High on my agenda are three things. First, I’m out there stumping to help future presidents – Republican or Democrat – get those tools they need to bring the budget under control. And those tools are a line-item veto and a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Second, I’m out there talking up the need to do something about political gerrymandering. This is the practice of rigging the boundaries of congressional districts. It is the greatest single blot on the integrity of our nation’s electoral system, and it’s high time we did something about it. And third, I’m talking up the idea of repealing the Twenty-second Amendment, to the Constitution, the amendment that prevents a president from serving more than two terms. I believe it’s a preemption of the people’s right to vote for whomever they want as many times as they want.

So I’m back where I came in – out there on the mashed potato circuit. I have a feeling I’ll be giving speeches until I’m called to the great beyond and maybe even after. All it will take is for St. Peter to say, “Ronald Wilson Reagan, what do you have to say for yourself? Speak up.”

“Well, sir, unaccustomed as I am . . .”

My fellow Americans:

This is the thirty-fourth time I’ll speak to you from the Oval Office and the last. We’ve been together for eight years now, and soon it’ll be time for me to go. But before I do, I wanted to share some thoughts, some of which I’ve been saying for a long time.

It’s been the honor of my life to be your president. So many of you have written the past few weeks to say thanks, but I could say as much to you. Nancy and I are grateful for the opportunity you gave us to serve.

One of the things about the presidency is that you’re always somewhat apart. You spend a lot of time going by too fast in a car someone else is driving, and seeing the people through tinted glass – the parents holding up a child, and the wave you saw too late and couldn’t return. And so many times I wanted to stop and reach out from behind the glass, and connect. Well, maybe I can do a little of that tonight.

People ask how I feel about leaving. And the fact is, “parting is such sweet sorrow.” The sweet part is California, and the ranch and freedom. The sorrow – the good-byes, of course, and leaving this beautiful place.

You know, down the hall and up the stairs from this office is the part of the White House where the presidents and his family live. There are a few favorite windows I have up there that I like to stand and look out of early in the morning. The view is over the grounds here to the Washington Monument, and then the Mall and the Jefferson Memorial. But on mornings when the humidity is low, you can see past the Jefferson to the river, the Potomac, and the Virginia shore. Someone said that’s the view Lincoln had when he saw the smoke rising from the Battle of Bull Run. I see more prosaic things: the grass on the banks, the morning traffic as people mark their way to work, now and then a sailboat on the river.

I’ve been thinking a bit at that window. I’ve been reflecting on what the past eight years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one – a small story about a big ship, and a refugee and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck and stood up and called out to him. He yelled, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.”

A small moment with a big meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn’t get out of his mind. And when I saw it, neither could I. Because that’s what it was to be an American in the 1980s. We stood, again, for freedom. I know we always have, but in the past few years the world again, and in a way, we ourselves – rediscovered it.

It’s been quite a journey this decade, and we held together through some stormy seas. And at the end, together, we are reaching our destination.

The fact is, from Grenada to the Washington and Moscow summits, from the recession of ’81 to ’82, to the expansion that began in late ’82 and continues to this day, we’ve made a difference. They way I see it, there were two great triumphs, two things that I’m proudest of. One is the economic recovery, in which the people of America created – and filled – 19 million new jobs. The other is the recovery of our morale. America is respected again in the world and looked to for leadership.

Something that happened to me a few years ago reflects some of this. It was back in 1981, and I was attending my first big economic summit, which was held that year in Canada. The meeting place rotates among the member countries. The opening meeting was a formal dinner for the heads of government of the seven industrialized nations. Now, I sat there like the new kid in school and listened, and it was all the Francois this and Helmut that. They dropped titles and spoke to one another on a first-name basis. Well, at one point I sort of learned in an said, “My name’s Ron.” Well, in that same year, we began the actions we felt would ignite an economic comeback – cut taxes and regulation, started to cut spending. And soon the recovery began.

Two years later another economic summit, with pretty much the same cast. At the big opening meeting we all got together, and all of a sudden, just for a moment, I saw that everyone was just sitting there looking at me. And then one of them broke the silence. “Tell us about the American miracle,” he said.

Well, back in 1980, when I was running for president, it was all so different. Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. Our views on foreign affairs would cause war. Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that “the engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they’re likely to stay that way for years to come.” Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is, what they called “radical” was really “right”. What they called “dangerous” was just “desperately needed.”

And in all of that time I won a nickname, “The Great Communicator.” But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscover of our values and our common sense.

Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So, we cut the people’s tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before. The economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could not grow quicker and stronger. Our economic program brought about the longest peacetime expansion in our history: real family income up, the poverty rate down, entrepreneurship booming, and an explosion in research and new technology. We’re exporting more than ever because American industry became more competitive and at the same time, we summoned the national will to knock down protectionist walls abroad instead of erecting them at home. Common sense also told us that to preserve the peace, we’d have to become strong again after years of weakness and confusion. So, we rebuilt our defenses, and this New Year we toasted the new peacefulness around the globe. Not only have the superpowers actually begun to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons – and hope for even more progress is bright – but the regional conflicts that rack the globe are also beginning to cease. The Persian Gulf is no longer a war zone. The Soviets are leaving Afghanistan. The Vietnamese are preparing to pull out of Cambodia, and an American-mediated accord will soon send 50,000 Cuban troops home to Angola.

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we’re a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there’s no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

Countries across the globe are turning to free markets and free speech and turning away from the ideologies of the past. For them, the great rediscovery of the 1980s has been that, lo and behold, the moral way of government is the practical way of government: Democracy, the profoundly good, is also profoundly productive.

When you’ve got to the point when you can celebrate the anniversaries of your thirty-ninth birthday, you can sit back sometimes, review your life, and see it flowing before you. For me there was a fork in the river, and it was right in the middle of my life. I never meant to go into politics. It wasn’t my intention when I was young. But I was raised to believe you had to pay your way for the blessings bestowed on you. I was happy with my career in the entertainment world, but I ultimately went into politics because I wanted to protect something precious.

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the people.” “We the people” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the people” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the people” are fee. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.

But back in the 1960s, when I began, it seemed to me that we’d begun reversing the order of things – that through more and more rules and regulations and confiscatory taxes, the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom. I went into politics in part to put up my hand and say, “Stop.” I was a citizen politician, and it seemed the right thing for a citizen to do.

I think we have stopped a lot of what needed stopping. And I hope we have once again reminded the people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.

Nothing is less free than pure communism, and yet we have, the past few years, forged a satisfying new closeness with the Soviet Union. I’ve been asked if this isn’t a gamble, and my answer is no because we’re basing our actions not on words but deeds. The détente of the 1970s was based not on actions but promises. They’d promise to treat their own people and the people of the world better. But the gulag was still the gulag, and the state was still expansionist, and they still waged proxy wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Well, this time, so far, it’s different. President Gorbachev has brought about some internal democratic reforms and begun the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has also freed prisoners whose names I’ve given him every time we’ve met.

But life has a way of reminding you of big things through small incidents. Once, during the heady days of the Moscow summit, Nancy and I decided to break off from the entourage one afternoon to visit the shops on Arbat Street – that’s a little street just off Moscow’s main shopping area. Even though our visit was a surprise, every Russian there immediately recognized us and called out our names and reached for our hands. We were just about swept away by the warmth. You could almost feel the possibilities in all that joy. But within seconds, a KGB detail pushed their way toward us and began pushing and shoving the people in the crowd. It was an interesting moments. It reminded me that while the man of the street in the Soviet Union yearns for peace, the government is Communist. And those who run it are Communists, and that means we and they view such issues as freedom and human rights very differently.

We must keep up our guard, but we must also continue to work together to lessen and eliminate tension and mistrust. My view is that President Gorbachev is different from previous Soviet leaders. I think he knows some of the things wrong with his society and is trying to fix them. We wish him well. And we’ll continue to work to make sure that the Soviet Union that eventually emerges from this process is a less threatening one. What it all boils down to is this. I want the new closeness to continue. And it will, as long as we make it clear that we will continue to act in a certain way as long as they continue to act in a helpful manner. If and when they don’t, at first pull your punches. If they persist, pull the plug. It’s still trust but verify. It’s still play, but cut the cards. It’s still watch closely. And don’t be afraid to see what you see.

I’ve been asked if I have any regrets. Well, I do. The deficit is one. I’ve been talking a great deal about that lately, but tonight isn’t for arguments. And I’m going to hold my tongue. But an observation: I’ve had my share of victories in the Congress, but what few people noticed is that I never won anything you didn’t win for me. They never saw my troops, they never saw Reagan’s regiments, the American people. You won every battle with every call you made and letter you wrote demanding action. Well, action is still needed. If we’re to finish the job, Reagan’s regiments will have to become the Bush brigades. Soon he’ll be the chief, and he’ll need you every bit as much as I did.

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past eight years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over thirty-five or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea of the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the midsixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rate. It’s fragile; it needs production [protection].

So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important: Why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those thirty seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the fortieth anniversary of D day, I read a letter from a young woman writing of her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

And that’s about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stand the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

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A Hero…Is Someone Who Makes a Difference

A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to Something bigger than Oneself Joseph Campbell

The Power of Forgiveness

On June 8, 1972, during the Vietnam war, South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb onto the town of Trang Bang in North Vietnam. Photographer Nick Ut was there at the scene. He took a photo of a little girl, running away from her home village naked with a look of horror and pain on her face. Her clothes had been burned off. The photo became famous and won the Pulitzer Prize. The picture was a wake-up call to many about the horrifying reality of war and the damage done by the war in Vietnam.

The girl in the photo was Phan Thi Kim Phúc and she was 9 years old. She survived the incident, but with severe burn scars all over her body. The doctors doubted she would survive. Kim, only a little child, had to stay at the hospital for 14 months, going through many operations, and then had to go through years of therapy. But she survived, and eventually moved back to her home village to live a normal life with her family.

While at college, she met a man with severe burn scars on his arm from having rescued someone from a burning building. A girl she knew made a comment on his scars, saying that nobody would want to date someone with such ugly scars. Kim thought about how her scars were much worse. This caused her great emotional turmoil – she couldn’t bring herself to eat, sleep or study for 3 days. Eventually, through prayer and self-talk, she managed to pull herself together again. However, she didn’t think she would ever find a boyfriend or a husband. But she did find a boyfriend, whom she eventually married and had her 2 sons with. Her husband says that if anything, the scars make him love her more.

Kim admits she felt bitterness and hate over the incident, which left her with chronic physical pain. She often wondered why it had to happen to her. But she soon realized that she needed to overcome these negative emotions to find peace. She needed to forgive, so she could move on for good. After she had forgiven those that were responsible for the event, she felt at peace.

On Veteran’s day, 1996, Vietnam war veterans gathered to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Kim was also there. She gave a speech about the attack she survived. She talked about how she no longer felt anger towards those responsible, as she had found the strength to forgive them. Suddenly, John Plummer, the pilot who was in the plane that dropped the bomb, stood up and started moving towards Kim. He shouted to her that he was responsible and that he was sorry. Kim came down from the stage and hugged him, and told him he was forgiven.

Kim believed she survived what happened because of a higher purpose, and that the event was necessary to teach her a lesson about helping and forgiving others. In 1996 she founded the Kim Phuc Foundation, that helps other child victims of war. That same year she also became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She found joy in helping people, visiting other victims of war at hospitals and giving them hope. Her strength to forgive, positive attitude and tireless efforts to help others inspire everyone she meets.

Story shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/03/overcoming-tragedy-3-inspiring-stories.html

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