Faith, “Semper Fidelis”, and Fly Over States

True appreciation of our veterans is be found with ordinary people, tied securely to the land that feeds them.

In some faith-filled, obscure, and contented corner of the world called Knoxville, Iowa, a remarkable thing happened. And this is vital to our understanding and appreciation of Veterans Day and last Tuesday’s presidential election.

But, before I begin, let me quote some of the opening lyrics of a song entitled Fly over States, by country’s triple-platinum star Jason Aldean:

A couple of guys in first class on a flight
From New York to Los Angeles,
Kinda making small talk, killing time,
Flirting with flight attendants.

Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma,
Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
Man it all looks the same.
Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
Connecting little towns with funny names,
Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere?

They’ve never drove through Indiana,
Met the men who plowed that earth.
Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me,
Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas,
They’d understand why God made those fly over states…

And, that’s where we begin our story. Because a true appreciation for those who have served us loyally in uniform throughout our history, and whom we owe our deepest gratitude, is rooted not in politics nor the politically-correct spirit of the day, or in the think tanks or the media-academia-Hollywood controlled thought police who demand subservience to a governmental god and a culture of leftist ideology. True appreciation of our veterans is be found with ordinary people, tied securely to the land that feeds them. It might seem hokey. It might appear old-fashioned. It might be laughed at and derided by those elites who fly above us between non-stops from New York to LA. You know, the know-betters who look down on those of us who cling to our Bibles and our guns.

Fly Over States

In Iowa, in the election last year, the folks who live in the small town of Knoxville booted out a couple of council people who gave in to the PC.

A former Marine, 67-year-old, Al Larson, wounded in battle in Vietnam, decided to build a memorial to a fallen comrade who died in the same battle. Larson says the man was his best friend but didn’t mention the man’s name. He felt it was his duty to honor his brother-in-arms in some way. So, he constructed, from a piece of simple plywood, a beautiful silhouette of a common soldier kneeling – helmet in his hand, rifle supporting his frame, before a crooked white cross, obviously the burial place of a comrade-in-arms; a man who died in service to our country. The little white cross over the grave was reminiscent of the untold number of crosses and Stars of David that populate military cemeteries in Normandy, France. He did this because he wanted to pay homage to the man who died in the same combat that he went through.

Larson donated the memorial to the local American Veterans (AMVETS) post 63. The AMVETS group placed the memorial in Young’s Park, in Knoxville, to honor fallen veterans. It was situated next to “Freedom Rock,” a large boulder featuring several patriotic murals, located just a few feet away. It seemed like the perfect place.

But, it was public land and the thought police went immediately on the attack. A lawsuit was threatened by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It filled the town council with fear because it would’ve been very costly to defend. A majority decided to compromise and move the silhouette across the street onto private property and replace it with a bronze statue honoring the fallen hero, albeit, without the cross. But, the people, those hidden folks, who live beneath us in the “Fly over States” would have none of it. 

They were sick and tired of the political-correctness that has dominated and infuriated us all. And, on election day, they threw out the council members who compromised. They, the common people, were fed up.

Honoring our veterans should never be compromised. Not ever. There should never be a muddled posturing among politicians because they fear a backlash from the press or lawsuits from those who seem so intent in separating our faith from what makes us what we truly are and forever will be: a people determined to meet God face-to-face with no excuses. Because we instinctively know what honorable service is, we respect those who have given “the last, full measure of devotion,” as Lincoln said, and we demand to, in some small way, repay that sacrifice even with simple memorials and the faithfulness of our prayers. Not to the state, but to the God who made us, only hoping that our poor prayers will bring their souls closer to God.

 Semper Fi

The motto “Semper Fidelis” has been around for a long time. The Irish Brigade who served in imperial France, Louie after Louie, and have been affectionately remembered as the “Wild Geese,” had a similar motto: “Semperet ubique Fidelis.” Semper Fidelis is also the title of the official and most familiar march of the U.S. Marine Corps, composed, in 1889, by John Philip Sousa. There are several variations of its exact meaning, but it is usually interpreted as “always faithful.”

True to this motto, Liberty Institute, a religious advocacy group providing pro bono legal assistance to many people, especially veterans, stepped up to the plate. This statement is from their web site:

Though the attacks on veteran’s memorials in America seem to never cease, neither does the Liberty Institute’s defense of the memorials. Veterans’ memorials that use images or text which can also have a religious meaning are lawful. The U.S. Supreme Court, discussing the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, which uses a cross shape, said a cross used as a veterans memorial “evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles.” Claiming otherwise and trying to tear them down is an affront to the men and women they are meant to honor.

It seems a veteran’s job is never done. Their warrior ethos, formed in battle, must always protect us, especially our religious rights. The attacks will never stop, the sieges upon our religious institutions will never be abated, at least in the foreseeable future.

The good folks in Knoxville, Iowa, were way ahead of us in their determined faith and patriotism last year. Last Tuesday we caught up with them and recognized that the time has come to confront the so-called “progressive” agenda dominating our country, infiltrating our churches, and poisoning our schools.

It’s not going to be easy. We know that.

But perhaps we’ve gained a foothold. Let’s not lose any more precious ground to the forces of modernism who seek to destroy our faith, our families, and our sacred honor.

Thank God for our veterans. God bless them past and present. Let’s make sure we finally start to recognize their service and treat them with the honor and dignity they fully deserve.

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About George J. Galloway 11 Articles
George J. Galloway is a retired history teacher, now freelance writer and novelist. He is a father of three and married to Cathy, his bride of 33 years. He writes from his little Cape Cod in Fallsington, Pennsylvania. You can read his blog at