“My country, may she ever be right, but right or wrong, my country.”
I grew up with this quotation from Stephen Decatur fixed as a part of the banner of our home town’s daily newspaper, The Decatur Daily. Decatur, Alabama was named after Stephen Decatur.
Britannica Encyclopedia indicates that the Daily’s quote may not be exact, close, but not exact. Britannica gives the quote as a reply to a toast with these words, “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.”
The Decatur Daily was delivered to our house everyday. For a few years I delivered the paper to my own paper route. Which meant that every day of those few years I folded a large stack of those papers and delivered them to the houses on my route. Folding all those papers, I saw and was reminded of that quote everyday.
I have gone back and forth with my appreciation for the quote. At times it would fill me with pride for my country. At other times I would want to say, “I love my country, but it is not my first allegiance. I love my God more than I love my country.”
As I learned more of the history of my country, I came to understand that our founding father’s would have encouraged the later of these sentiments. Our great leaders often expressed that the success of this country would depend on its people’s allegiance to our Creator.
The best I can do for my country is to be faithful to my God and what he has said. Then I will be moving toward my true country. A heavenly, eternal country where God and Jesus abide.