WARNING FOR THE FUTURE
by a Confederate Veteran
Psalm 85:4-7 (KJV), “Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. 5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? 6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? 7 Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.”
" In the days of the revolution the men who made this a nation pledged their lives; their fortunes and their sacred honor to politics; not from mercenary; but from patriotic motives. It was a sad day for the country when their descendants began to stray from following in their footsteps.
"The old commandment; the commandment with promise; "Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee;" was never understood by the Jewish rabbis; nor is it construed by theologians in our day; as promising long life to obedient children. In that sense the promise has not; as a rule; been fulfilled. Their rendering was; and is; that the promise was that the children who honored the precepts and followed in the footsteps of their parents should long continue to enjoy the patrimony which they had acquired by habits and methods of life necessary; also; for its preservation.
" I tell you; my friends; we are to-day too near the danger point. We have lowered the standard. We have come to disregard; almost to despise; the precepts and the examples of the fathers of the republic; and we are in peril. We are drifting away from the old anchorage. There are two periods in the history of a nation when the mere form of its government is of comparatively slight consequence. The first period is when it is young and weak; and struggling through poverty for recognition. Then; whether a republic or a despotism; it prospers; because the people make the republic their first care; and if the despot does not act for the best interests of his subjects they will rise in their might and put him to death.
The other period is when the nation has become strong and rich; and ambition and avarice rule the land. Then the passion for wealth and the desire for place supplant patriotism; and the period of decadence sets in. Then demagoguism and place hunting and favoritism abound; and it avails little what may be the form of government.
What we need to day in this country is the revival of the old respect for the old landmarks.
"Here; in the presence of these graves of men who gave their lives for their opinions and for their country; let us resolve that we will in truth be American citizens; that we will show ourselves worthy to be the sovereigns of the Union; preserved for us and our descendants; and that we will profit by the examples and precepts and the teachings of those who founded and those who preserved our liberties. So shall we best honor ourselves; and so shall we best honor the dead who here and elsewhere lie buried."