Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 24, 2013

GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Thank you, Staff Sgt. Hunsberger, for your sacrifice

At the school just up the road, the room is packed. It’s National Anthem Day, and the gym’s awash in a sea of red, white and blue.

I slip in the back to stand along the side. Bunting festoons the walls, and the wooden floor is full of children. From the smallest and weakest to the biggest and strongest, they’re standing tight, faces turned, shining, eager toward the center.

In the middle, there it stands. The symbol of our country, inspiration for many, the banner planted in rubble now 12 long years back — the American flag. And around it? Oh, around it stands a protective ring of men. Now stooped and gray, they circle that flag, and the music, it plays.

AND LIKE THAT, those men, brave warriors who fought on foreign shores, they salute. Right arms raised, faces resolute, the old soldiers, they honor their flag. My throat closes tight. I cannot sing. The children, they’re singing right strong, excitement and pride ringing loud, ringing true as the heroes salute, still, that flag.

I look over the gym where the flags dot the crowd, the children sing proud and the veterans limp past in a line. This soil where we stand, raise families, build homes, it was paid for with blood. Sweat. And tears. God, who plants us in countries, has given us this land. And I? Well, I’m giving thanks.

Then it’s his turn. Strong and clear, he begins to sing, “Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties...” His face, it shines with joy and peace, and once more, I cannot sing. For I know what price he’s paid, what he’s given up for the land of the grain and mountains majestic. Oh, I remember ...

LIKE THAT, I’m back on that sidewalk. It’s mere days before Independence Day when we celebrate our great freedom, and on this Sunday morning, we’re down on Main Street. ‘Cause he’s coming home.

The town has gathered. Up and down the sidewalks, folks are waiting. Waiting to honor, both him and his loved ones. To say “thanks” and “we’re sorry” and “it matters.”’ And then, there it comes. Turning at the square, it’s the hearse with his body and those he loved best coming, too.

I can still feel the deep, holy hush that fell then that day, flags waving all up and down. For Travis had paid all that one man could pay, and his family, they’d all paid, too.

“... above the fruited plains.” The man, Travis’ father, he’s finishing the verse. His mother’s just there at his dad’s right-hand side, and me, I can’t sing. For I know what these two have invested. I know what they’ve given for this land that we love; what they’ve given, and lost, and will gain.

TODAY, I’m thinking of freedom. Of liberty. Of sacrifice, cost and of heroes. I’m considering, too, our country’s direction, and I’m mulling over this truth, that a nation is only as free as its people are.

“Righteousness exalts a nation,” a wise king once said, “but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Righteousness, exaltation. Sin, disgrace. Freedom of choice and those that imprison. These are the themes that play in my mind, overlying a snapshot of grizzled warriors encircling a flag as the Star Spangled Banner plays.

Righteousness, sin and the freedom to choose. Far from being an American idea, it was birthed in the mind of God from creation’s beginning. Man, God decreed, would have a choice, and the choice he would have would be clear. God or Satan. Christ or self. Righteousness or sin. The fruit of the one would be life, and the wages of the other would be death.

When a person chose God over Satan, Christ over self and righteousness over sin, then would come the sweetest kind of life. Upon such a one would rest the blessing and favor of God Himself, along with all the strength, provision and creativity to do the work he or she had been called to do.

Here was found the truest kind of freedom. Choosing to live by godly principles brought very heaven down to earth, and all around would be touched. From this one to his family, his friends, church and town would flow life, blessing and what the world sadly lacked — love. And so righteousness would exalt a nation.

Conversely, when one chose self over Christ and lived just that way, the wages were death and not life. The results were true bondage, poverty and need, a choice that brought hatred and strife. It was not heaven that came down to a home, then on out. It was the other, bringing reproach.

HERE’S WHAT I know. That while I cannot change a nation, and I can’t choose for you, I can still choose for me. And I choose life. Choose trust, love and obedience and walking in righteousness. For then heaven will come to my circle here and exalt this small corner of our nation.

With thoughts and prayers, still, to the family of Staff Sgt. Travis Hunsberger who paid the ultimate price. A grateful town here says “thanks.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140730 Spore mug Charges filed against parents in Syracuse boy's death SYRACUSE — According to a story first reported by The Times-Union in Warsaw, the parents of a 12-year-old Syracuse boy are facing criminal charges as the result of their son's death in June. The Times-Union reported late Friday night that Candy Sue

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140823 new paris railroad crossing 01 Railroad crossing upgrades coming NEW PARIS — Significant safety upgrades are on their way for the Division Street railroad crossing in New Paris. That’s the word from Will Wingfield, a media relations representative with the Indiana Department of Transportation, who recently indicat

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn