I spent some time in Washington, DC over the last few days. I was there for two reasons. The first was to have some solo time for photographing memorials and monuments for Honor Flight videos that I produce. The second was to attend the Restoring Honor event on 8/28.
I was able to spend some time at the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Monument. All of them are amazing and unique. The World War II memorial at night is beautiful. I got up early Friday morning to head over to the Lincoln Memorial to take some sunrise photos. The World War II memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol building are all directly east of the Lincoln Memorial, and the sun coming up behind those historic markers is really quite stunning.
One place that seems kind of out of the way, and somewhat forgotten is the Jefferson Memorial. Maybe because of that, and because he was so intimately involved with writing the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson has always kind of drawn me.
Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion . . . No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.
As I stood under the rotunda reading Jefferson’s words, I was moved to tears at the eloquence and simplicity with which he expressed such fundamental principles — and how far from the founding principles of freedom and liberty we have come.
I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
The founding fathers risked everything for the cause of freedom. To each other for the cause of liberty, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their honor. With the most powerful nation on the planet, and many of their own colonists against them, Jefferson and his fellow patriots refused to accept the remote rule of a distant, deaf King George. We know that America is an idea, an experiment in limited government. Reagan famously talked about America as the “last stand on earth”. He said, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to.”
I hope we, I hope I, for the sake of preserving freedom for future generations, have what it takes to be more than just a sunshine patriot.