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I think it quite appropriate that on this day we celebrate who we are as a nation and reflect on how we came to be the nation we are. It is because we still stand firm in our national motto,” IN GOD WE TRUST”.

Did you ever wonder where it came from – how did these words come to be a reflection of who we are as a nation?

One of the first times the motto was expressed is found in an unheralded verse from Francis Scott Key’s poem that became our national anthem. “...And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

In 1864, when the Civil War brought a return of Christian sentiment to the nation, the words were first added to new coins. At that time there was much concern for our nation and many appeals came in to the government to recognize God’s role in the history of our nation. Those appeals spoke to the heart of the then Secretary of the Treasury who then passed this request on to the director of the US mint in Philadelphia. His letter reads like this.

Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”

Many phrases were considered, but the phrase that most precisely stated God’s role in our country was the simple phrase, In God We Trust. On July 11, 1955, during the height of the cold war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law making it mandatory that all of our currency be ascribed with the one phrase that separated us from other nations.

As we celebrate today I want to help you see that we trust in God and because we do He still has a great plan for us.

(From a sermon by Mike Rickman, In God We Trust, 7/2/2010)

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