The Lasting Name

Fifty-six commoners signed the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776. These gentlemen knowingly placed their lives in harm’s way by simply making their mark. It is said that after the signing the President of Congress, John Hancock, bemused that they, “All hang together” to which Benjamin Franklin retorted, Or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Of these men five became POWs, twelve had their homes looted, two lost sons in the war, and nine took up arms. They were lawyers, merchants, and farmers who pledged, “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” Their common names became noble.

Fourscore and seven years later President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the ground consecrated by the sacrifice of citizen soldiers who held Gettysburg during the week of July 4th, 1863. Though the names of the 7,863 who died are not all known a trend began to commemorate soldier’s names from Generals to privates. Prior to the mid-19th century only the names of great military leaders where kept. All soldiers were unknown soldiers. Henceforth casualties of every rank were engraved on monuments from town squares to Washington, D.C. And even the unidentified are memorialized at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They are named; their loss is reverently noted. From the Great War, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the War on Terror we honor them by name.

As evil again rises in the East we see a new brutal trend. Untold numbers of Christians and non-Muslim secularists are perishing at the whim of Islamic terrorists. Nameless men are in orange attire are beheaded for their faith. These proud men silently and unwaveringly tender their lives for their Lord. No gravestone bears their name. No monument erected. Not even a parchment contains their John Hancock. And yet their anonymous sacrifice speaks loudly of the Name for whom they died. The thing is, their name may not be known and immortalized on this earth but their name is written in the imperishable Lamb’s Book of Life. Parchments will fade and stones will weather but the most important document known to any human is in the hand of the Divine.

Independence is willing to stake your name against the tide of this secular world. Christians must unite under the Name by whom we are identified. Declaring our allegiance to that name may forfeit ours in this world. We owe it to those who gave their lives for our freedom to put ours on the line. As Lincoln said, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

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