Most Americans do not know that June 18 marked the Bicentennial of the Second War for Independence—the War of 1812. This seemingly unimportant war with England almost cost our nation its freedom. In August 1814, Washington D.C., the new Capitol Building and the White House were burned by British troops. Battles for the great port cities of the former colonies were under continuous and heavy attacks from the sea. British armies were claiming allies in Native American tribes and Canadian settlers. Overcoming great odds, the American armies prevailed, signing a treaty with England on December 24, 1814. One of the most famous battles took place in New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson’s soldiers defeated the British—on January 8, 1815. News of the end of the war took a long time to reach Louisiana.
Francis Scott Key penned “The Star Spangled Banner” when he saw the U. S. flag raised after a twenty-five hour British bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814. Our national anthem was born out of this “second war for independence.” Yet somehow today we seem to have forgotten that on July 4, 1812 we were in the midst of a struggle with the strongest army and navy in the world, only 36 years after the original Declaration of Independence.
With the 4th of July coming on a Wednesday this year, it is not easy to make it into a 5-day weekend, unless you take some vacation time. Maybe this would be a good year to reflect on just what our Independence Day really means. Was all of that blood shed so we could roast hot dogs, get sunburned and set-off fireworks? Jesus once said that knowing the truth will set you free. Just what is it that we celebrate this week?
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Proclaim liberty. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.