Protecting our freedoms

Above: Jeff Buyck shows his daughter, Evelyn, the many crosses at Bethel Cemetery. Below: Reuben Anderson and Kathy Schmidt lit candles in the memory of Eugene “Buzzy” Olson and his wife, Barb, who both passed away this year. Photos / Per Peterson

First Amendment focus of Memorial Day speech at Bethel Cemetery

By Per Peterson

In addressing a large crowd at the Memorial Day service at Bethel Cemetery on Monday on a picturesque morning, Pastor Chuck Swanson spoke about one reason why it’s so important that American soldiers have given of themselves to fight in wars: the Constitution.

Swanson, pastor at the Garvin Congregational Church, said all soldiers take an oath to defend the Constitution, because without it, Americans wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms and liberties they do today.

“We have a rather unique Constitution,” Swanson said. “The preamble of the Constitution reads, ‘We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’”

With that, Swanson put his focus on the First Amendment, saying there is a reason the First Amendment is the first of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights. It’s because that amendment is the one that protects basic freedoms in the U.S., including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and the right to petition government.

“It’s first because these are our first liberties, these are our first freedoms,” Swanson said. “These are the freedoms worth fighting and if necessary losing a limb or dying for, or sending a son, a daughter or a spouse (to war) and not having them come back. These are the freedoms for which so many have paid so dearly.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.