Story of the Day for Wednesday July 4, 2012
A Ragtag Militia
David’s troops fled from the Philistines at the barley field. But they took their stand in the middle of the filed and defended it . . . and the Lord rescued them with a great victory.
1 Chronicles 11:13-14
Imagine that terrorists attacked Washington D.C. and destroyed the White House, the capitol, the Library of Congress – all of our most important government buildings.
Did you know that it once happened?
In 1812, Great Britain was the most powerful army in the world. They had just defeated Napoleon and were well-trained and battle-tested. The United States had virtually no army at all.
When the British invaded our shores, they marched on Washington and burned all the government buildings (except the post office). After the devastation, President Madison showed no signs of panic. He convened his cabinet in the post office and Congress met in a hotel.
These were dark days for our country.
Many voices called for surrender. How could we withstand such a might force? The President, however, refused to back down. He installed new officers in the military who were willing to stand up to the British.
The British army’s next target was Baltimore. Major George Armistead was chosen to defend the small fort at the mouth of the harbor. Before British ships could destroy Baltimore that had to get past Fort McHenry.
Armistead convinced the local merchants to line up their ships across the mouth of the harbor . . . and sink them – thus forming a blockade. He installed sixty cannons in the fort and said, “We are ready, except that we have no suitable ensign to display over the fort. And it is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.”
Working day and night, Mary Pinkersguild oversaw the making of an American flag that measured 30 feet by 42 feet.
The British navy arrived on September 11th, 1814. They unloaded 50 ships full of infantry to attack the city of Baltimore, while the warships unleashed a furious barrage on Fort McHenry. 190 pound cannonballs hit with such force they rattled houses in Baltimore over three miles away.
All night long the sky was lit up as the British bombarded the fort. The navy launched 700 rockets and over 1500 cannonballs.
At dawn, the Americans would raise their flag or a white flag of surrender. An American lawyer, captured by the British, watched the bombardment and saw, by the dawn’s early light, those broad stripes and bright stars . . .
The British infantry retreated and the navy sailed away. Who could have predicted that a ragtag militia could stand up to the power of the British forces? But they did.
When the time comes for you to stand your ground, don’t calculate the power of the forces arrayed against you; think only of that for which you would give your all.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)