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"WE ARE HERE"

On the Fourth of July 1917, an American Army officer, Charles Stanton, stood in for General Pershing at a ceremony in Paris. The occasion, as the date suggests, was America’s Independence celebration, the Fourth of July. But it was not in America; it was in Paris, 1917, in a city and a country torn by the First World War. The location in Paris was a cemetery, specifically the tomb of the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette, as you know, was a French soldier who had come to America a century and half earlier and had played a key role in helping the colonies gain their freedom.

Now, at Lafayette’s tomb, in Lafayette’s devastated land, the sons of his American achievement had arrived to push back the forces of tyranny. Stanton, as spokesman for the American Expeditionary Force, drew back his shoulders, saluted the general’s tomb, and announced, "Lafayette, we are here."

What did he mean? Lafayette had helped us, back in history; we are here now to do what we can do for his country. Lafayette, you did something for us; it inspires us now, at his tomb, to do something for him, for his people. "Lafayette, we are here."

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? No, but, Christ Jesus, we are here, to be like You in Your death. To put to death all of our pretensions and falsehoods, just let them go. We are here, to repent. Christ Jesus, we are here.

Source: From a sermon by Joseph Smith, "Were You There? No, But We Are Here" 2/21/2009

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