By Joey & Carla Link
July 3, 2019
You see all these TV commercials about getting your DNA tested to see who your ancestors are. Joey doesn’t have to do that as his mother kept journals written by her great-grandfather, birth certificates and pictures that were left to her. James Cotton, Joey’sgreat (x4) grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War. We have a copy of his discharge record. It lists all the battles his battalion was a part of.
Rev. George Scott, Joey’s great (x2) grandfather spent 3 years during the Civil War as a Confederate prisoner of war where he served as a Chaplain for both sides of the conflict. He wasn’t going to tell a dying man he wouldn’t pray with him because he was on the wrong side of the conflict.
Rev. Scott was a circuit preacher, meaning he traveled by horseback to different churches to preach each Sunday and he was a Captain in the Underground Railroad. His son’s journals tells how, when he was 10 years old, his dad showed him the secret loft in their barn where they hid slaves while re-stocking their supplies and told him how to keep their farm as a central hideout should he be caught and killed. We are grateful Joey’s mom kept these journals and pictures and left them to us.
We were surprised to learn the Scott’s home was about an hour from us here in Iowa. One Memorial Day we decided to go find the cemetery dedicated to the soldiers of the Civil War and their families where he is buried. Visiting cemeteries is a time of remembering the lives of those who have gone before us and the legacies they left us. As we stood in front of Joey’s great-great grandfather’s grave and those of his family, we read the journals we brought with us. Courage, determination, compassion for the unfortunate, loved God and was passionate to share the Gospel with others, these are just a few things we noticed about his character. Think how many fleeing slaves he led to Christ! We wondered how long it had been since a family member stood there remembering the incredible legacy this man left to his future generations. It’s a memory we will never forget. We hope to take the next generation there when they are old enough to understand what this man did for his country and for those who were oppressed and seeking to live a life of freedom.
We will never forget going to our Nation’s capital with Joey’s father and walking with him through the WWII memorial park. Heserved in WWII, something he rarely talked about. When I (Carla) asked him to explain the significance of the medals he had earned he just looked at me with pain in his eyes and said they didn’t really mean much to him for how could he get medals when so many of his army buddies had lost their lives. He told me he didn’t deserve any honor for being one of the lucky ones who survived. It may not be a big deal to you, but we think it is important that our future generations don’t forget who they came from. God thought it was important too, commanding the Children of Israel to build memorials for events He wanted them to remember.
Patriotism has taken a big hit in our country. Schools are being encouraged to stop having their students stand and say the pledge of allegiance to the flag of America and athletes won’t stand for the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner”. This is a part of the culture your kids are growing up with today. Are they being desensitized to what it means to serve and honor God and country?
Why not try to find out who in your family served in wars fighting for our country’s freedom. Plan a trip to Washington D.C. and visit the War Memorials. The one for the Korean War is hauntingly beautiful yet important to see. Plan a trip to Boston and walk the Freedom Trail with your kids. They will learn more on that route about the birth of our country than they ever will from a textbook.
You can sing “God Bless America” as a family as you watch fireworks on July 4th. You might be surprised at how many others will join in with you. Pray for our country as a family. Ask your kids how you as a family can honor being an American.
(Note: The circular marker next to Joey’s great-grandfather’s grave with the star on it is the one given veterans of the Civil War when they died.)