Thirty Sobering Minutes: “O Say Can You See" to Freddie Gray

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Thirty Sobering Minutes

“O Say Can You See" to Freddie Gray

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Memorial Day this year was unlike any other Memorial Day for me. It started out simply as my wife and I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to observe the Christian Day of Pentecost with our congregations there. The following day was Memorial Day, so we stayed and toured historic Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. The fort holds a strategic location in the city's harbor and is well known for its defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812. It successfully defended the city from an attack by the British Navy. Some say it preserved the independence of the United States from Great Britain because Washington, D.C. had already fallen, and the potential loss of Baltimore might have dealt a fatal blow to a young nation. It was during the bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write what became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner.” He witnessed the huge 40-foot wide American flag that was still flying over the fort on the morning after the bombardment as the British were withdrawing.

The Bible explains cause and effect, elements that drive the rise and fall of nations. When nations live righteously, decently and lawfully, the society is strong.

While we were there on Memorial Day there was a special flag hoisting, and playing of the Star Spangled Banner by a virtuoso 11-year-old trumpeter. It was moving to be on the very spot where such a historical event took place. The people manning that fort in 1812 put their lives on the line for a higher cause. After being here, I will always remember this day and this spot where I heard the national anthem played with such dignity and meaning. 

After touring the fort and its various buildings and armaments, we drove back through Baltimore, including the neighborhood where there were recent riots. In the past month alone 35 people have died.

If you're not familiar with the riots that engulfed Baltimore recently, here's a short summary: On April 12, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black resident, sustained injuries to his spine and neck following his arrest by policemen, which led to a coma, then death a week later. His death was declared a homicide by a prosecuting attorney. Legal charges were issued against the six officers involved in the incident.

Protests were organized after Gray's funeral service. But tragically, the protests collapsed into barbaric rioting. Looting and burning spread through the neighborhood.

Driving through this neighborhood shortly after experiencing the patriotic feeling of living in a country of freedom was a depressing experience. We were sobered as we passed by the looted landmark CVS drugstore and other businesses shown on national television. Many policemen were injured and hundreds more have since been arrested.

The burned out buildings seemed to symbolize the loss of key elements in society, elements that are needed to guarantee the liberties that collectively have made us into a great nation. The United States is truly great, but there are underlying problems that are unraveling us as a society. What’s going to happen? Will it get better? Or worse?

The answers can be found in the Bible. Really. The Bible explains cause and effect, elements that drive the rise and fall of nations. When nations live righteously, decently and lawfully, the society is strong. Additional blessings come directly from God. Conversely, poverty, violence and even captivity appear when fundamental principles of living are violated.

I could write more, but these two contrasting experiences—barely an hour apart—inspired me to offer you a popular Bible study guide called The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. This booklet will give you remarkable insight about where the blessings of our nation have come in a world that is strangled economically and politically. The story is eye opening. You need to read this to gain a perspective of what is happening before our eyes. God is on His throne and remains involved in human affairs in a remarkable way. I hope you will read it. We will gladly send it to you free of charge.

P.S. What concerns you about the apparent decline of America? Write to me at