America’s Founding Fathers realized that through the Ten Commandments God was securing the inalienable rights they referenced in The Declaration of Independence.  They realized that through the Ten Commandments God is saying “you have a right to not be murdered; you have a right to not be lied to or about; you have a right not to be stolen from or to have your property improperly seized; you have a right not to be sexually molested – or threatened by having males and females in the same bathrooms; you have a right not to have your person, people, position and possessions coveted.

It is esteem for the American way of life that these concepts generated that has motivated generations of US military personnel to serve, so others also might enjoy them.

Many of you listening may not know that I used to be NYS Veterans Advocate.  Here’s how I came to that position.

When I was a freshman in college a female veteran from the Korean War Era named Theresa Higgins Raffael and members of her Weed nigh prayer group advised me after a church service that at their last prayer meeting a prophecy was given that I, Earl Wallace, would handle Theresa’s claim to the VA.  Well at the time I was studying to be a high school English teacher and working as a veterans counselor was not something I was even considering.

I graduated from Skidmore College and taught HS English at Saratoga Springs Sr High Sch.  After 2 years and having 92% and 95% of my students pass Regents exams, I got an overwhelming sense that God was calling me to something else.  I eventually took a state exam and became a NYS Veterans Counselor.  A short time later, Theresa called the office where I worked, and we became reacquainted.  I began representing Theresa approx. 7 years after our conversation at church, and after another 7 years, she won what probably was largest retroactive comp disability claim in NYS History.  Her first award spanned 1954 – 1994.

Today in honor of veterans like Theresa, who are male and female and come from all ethnicities, I am going to read a poem she wrote called Retreat Thoughts.

“RETREAT THOUGHTS”
By Theresa Higgins Raffael

I stand before Old Glory, with tear dimmed eyes each night.
And proudly salute the colors that have no stain or blight.
I know it’s just a piece of cloth, several centuries old.
But all the meaning behind it, and stories that could be told.
The red stands for innocent blood shed for you and me.
While the white reminds us of our country’s purity.
Now we come to the last, that color which is blue,
Surrounded by fifty stars, showing how our nation grew.
And as it’s being lowered, slowly to the ground,
Perhaps we stop to think of the coffins it has mound.
And now it’s being folded, by those who serve it well,
Comrades of soldiers, who in the front lines fell.
Now to climax all these thoughts and put them into one,
To stand retreat’s a privilege that human blood has won.

May God bless America and continue to lift us up in liberty.

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