On Independence Day I sent the following message to my friends: “Our Founding Fathers sacrificed their security, and many gave their lives, to form a nation where freedom and independence were the right of all. Many men and women in uniform have risked or given their lives in the defense of that freedom and independence. I hope all of you will take a moment today to reflect on what a great gift it is to be an American.”
Frankly, I don’t believe most of us take time out of our busy lives to reflect on how blessed we are. We don’t think about the fact that we live in the greatest nation on earth, by whatever standard one might choose to judge. We forget that there are billions of people on our planet who would give almost anything to be American citizens. We take the great gift God has given us for granted.
Certainly there are times of the year, such as Independence Day and Memorial Day when many pause to reflect on these things. But within days after these "holidays," life takes over with all of its responsibilities and distractions, and patriotism wanes. There are also major events, such as wars, that cause us all to draw closer together as a nation. At such times patriotism again comes to the foreground.
September 11, 2001, The Day Everything Changed, was one of those events. I doubt that there have been as many flags flown in this country since the day World War II ended. I have witnessed a new pride in people’s voices as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Not all the changes brought about by 9/11 have been negative. One result has been an increased sense of patriotism. Which brings me to the point of my editorial today.
Following the Attacks on America, ConservativeTruth.org received hundreds of requests for the address of a great patriotic website. People needed comfort and inspiration, and I knew just where to send them. Out of the hundreds of great patriotic sites on the web, my absolute favorite is the "America the Beautiful" site found at www.ourchristiannation.org/america.htm. It is one of the most popular sites on the web, with millions people from all over the world visiting during the summer alone. The designer, Marcia Phyfer, combines beautiful images, music, and the very best patriotic prose in a way that will leave you feeling very proud to be an American.
I’d like to tell you the story of how one regular American impacted the lives of millions of Americans. On February 15, 2000 (her birthday), Marcia Phyfer felt that the Lord was leading her to create this website which has blessed so many. There was only one problem: Marcia had no formal computer training. Her profession was wife and mom, and she didn’t know how to design web pages. Amazingly, she taught herself! The site she created (with the Lord’s help, as she would be quick to tell you) has received worldwide acclaim and a number of awards.
She thought she was creating the site for her own inspiration and that of her family and friends. Many hours and much prayer went into this labor of love, and finally it was ready to post in late June of 2000. She sent the link to the site to a few dozen friends and family members, and thought that was all there was to it.
She was shocked by the response. Something about this site touched people’s hearts. Dozens emailed the link to hundreds, who forwarded it to thousands. Over 17,000 people visited the site during the summer of 2000.
The following June, I received dozens of emails from readers, all with the same request: “Tell people about the America the Beautiful page.” Some called it the Fourth of July page because of the time of year and the patriotic message. I sent the link to tens of thousands of visitors, who forwarded it to friends around the world. The site had almost four million visitors during summer of 2001!
When Islamic terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers, America needed comfort and hope. It wasn’t just the patriotic message that met their needs, but the inspiration from the Word of God throughout the site that gave them the hope that they sought. Marcia received thousands of emails from people whose lives were changed by visiting the site.
The bad news was that Marcia’s free web space received so many “hits” that the company hosting the site shut it down. Conservative Truth got involved and offered to sponsor the site, and within a few days they were back up and running with a large allotment of bandwidth.
This June I again encouraged my readers to visit her site, and obviously quite a few did - and then some! On the morning of July 2, I received a notice that on Monday, July 1, the America the Beautiful site had used up almost the entire months’ allotment of bandwidth. The overcharges they quoted me were staggering.
Like Conservative Truth, Marcia’s site has never accepted advertising or donations. We have paid for all costs out of our own salaries from our regular jobs. These sites have been a labor of love. However, this crisis has motivated Marcia to complete a project she had been working on for almost a year. She now has a CD designed to allow users to share this wonderful site with friends and family whenever and wherever they wish, even when they don’t have access to the Internet. She is making it available on a donation basis to help keep the site open.
Those of you have read my columns for almost two years know that only one other time have I used this space as a platform to ask you to help a ministry. It is only because I know Marcia Phyfer’s heart, and because I know she has never asked anyone for a penny in the past that I do so now. We have a plan to handle the increased bandwidth the site will experience again next summer. Had we known how many millions would visit this year, we would have been able to prepare for it. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing the increase would be so great.
In a way, it’s a good problem. It means that more people have received ministry and inspiration this year than last. It means that more children, who are being deprived of their patriotic heritage in their schools have an opportunity to learn what why this nation was founded. It means that more Americans are discovering anew what it means to be an American.
I hope you will all visit the site now that the Fourth of July rush is over. In addition to the patriotic America the Beautiful and Fourth of July pages, check out the many inspirational pages Marcia has created. These include Glimpses of God, a wonderful Easter series, and a Kid’s Korner that provides a safe “web surfing” experience for our youngsters.
When she found I was going to write about her, Marcia told me, “I want everyone to know that I take no credit for the unbelievable response to this work. God gave me the inspiration. God sent the people who needed to see it. I can only take credit for being His willing servant. That’s why my email address is Webservant@OurChristianNation.org, instead of the more traditional ‘Webmaster.’"
There are millions and millions of God-fearing, patriotic Americans in our great nation. We don’t hear much about them. Instead, the news is full of people who bash America, complain about her mistakes, and dishonor the Christian foundations of our country. The tremendous response to this patriotic Christian website proves that the vision of our Founding Fathers still lives on in the hearts of Americans.