Commuting Through History
- Rebecca Hagelin The Heritage Foundation
- 2003 10 Nov
When I talk to friends who live "out there in the real world," inevitably they end up asking me how I like driving "in all that traffic." My family moved to the Washington, D.C., area this past January from Richmond, Va., and such a move still mystifies a lot of people I know. The truth is, I love my daily commute from Arlington to the heart of our nation's capital.
Yes, it sounds crazy.
It's not the traffic I love, it's the route I take and the time I have in which I'm able to contemplate life's great questions. Just minutes after leaving my home, I drive down the beautiful George Washington Parkway that runs by the Potomac River. My radio is usually tuned to Christian programming so I can be challenged, encouraged and instructed in matters of faith and in those things eternal.
As I travel over the Memorial Bridge and onto Constitution Avenue, my drive becomes an amazing journey through America's rich Judeo-Christian history, as reflected on and in many of the stately government buildings and monuments throughout the city. Of course, some of these buildings evoke visions of government waste and potential abuse of power (the IRS and EPA buildings come to mind).
But there is much of value on and in many of the structures. As I pass the Federal Reserve on my left, I am reminded of how blessed I am to live in a land that believes in economic freedom and opportunity for all. As I continue toward the Capitol, I'm moved by the setting of the White House on my left and am reminded to pray for our president.
Across the street is the Washington Monument – dedicated to one of the most outspoken Christian leaders and warriors in our history. I think Gen. Washington would approve of his memorial elegantly reaching to the sky, declaring the majesty of freedom.
A highlight of my drive includes passing by the National Archives that bears the inscription, "The ties that bind the lives of our people in one indissoluble union are perpetuated in the archives of our government and to their custody this building is dedicated." I have given this statement much thought during my daily commute. "The archives of our government" truly do "bind the lives of our people in one indissoluble union."
But how? How is that America has risen to be the most powerful and free nation on the Earth in just over 200 years? There's only one reason: Our founding documents are based on those Judeo-Christian principles of personal responsibility and the truth of liberty. Many of today's history books miss the vital lessons of our history regarding the faith of our founding fathers. There's much that can be learned about our rich heritage by simply spending time on Internet sites such as the Founder's Almanac, Vision Forum, AmeriSearch, Christian Heritage Tours and Wall Builders. These sites are dedicated to providing both adults and children with an understanding of the miracle of our nation's birth and success against overwhelming odds.
As I pass the Capitol, again, I frequently find myself praying that God's wisdom be imparted to our leaders. Many prayers are also sent Heaven's way as I catch a glimpse of the Supreme Court of the United States. These two buildings are impressive both for their beauty and for their representation of the power of the people who work there. I remind myself that the men and women in these buildings are just that – fallible men and women who only have the power that God has given them.
I often wonder how many of them have bothered to read the many references to God and His Word that adorn these buildings. Do the senators, congressmen and justices measure their decisions by His law? Do they ever feel the tremendous moral responsibility that comes with the privilege of governing the lives of millions of people?
Certainly, the documents in the National Archives, speeches and many writings of our founding fathers reveal that they sought God's strength and wisdom and understood that without Him the nation would fail. Those great and learned men who risked everything to create a land of freedom relied upon the guidance of the Creator. How can today's leaders expect to succeed without Him?
A study of the Supreme Court building is a lesson in itself on America's dependence upon biblical truths in establishing systems of justice and liberty. Moses is clearly depicted in a sculpture on the front of the building. He is seated in the Chair of the Law and holds the tablets of the Ten Commandments in his hands. Inside the building, the Ten Commandments are prominently featured above the Bench upon which the Supreme Court Justices are seated. I wonder if the justices ever take pause and glance up to read the eternal truths upon which all freedom and justice is based.
No, my drive to work each day isn't your typical commute – it is a trip well worth taking.
Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation. Reprinted with permission of World Net Daily