For those of you who have been following the #TravsArmy story since last fall, you know the College Game Day extravaganza goes far beyond a social media brigade and delves much deeper into the power of prayer. (If you haven’t been following, here is a little background.) Joe Pettit, brother-in-law of Travis and a dear friend of many of us here at Peach Pundit, recently penned an article on Appealing to Heaven and what that means for his family as Travis battles an aggressive cancer. In Joe’s article, he details a movement of principles and faith that began in the Georgia legislature (by now-GA12 Congressional candidate Delvis Dutton) but spans far outside the realm of politics.
I encourage you to read below, Appeal to Heaven in your own lives and continue to pray for Travis. #TravsArmy.
In 1775 there was a revolution brewing in the American Colonies. The idea of commissioning a navy came up at the Continental Congress, but the idea was rejected. In response, George Washington commissioned a private Navy – six schooners. On the masts of these ships, Washington flew a white flag with a green pine tree and the phrase “Appeal to Heaven,” embroidered across the flag.
The Eastern White Pine was a valuable cash crop for the New England colonists. The trees grew tall and the wood was flexible, which made it perfect for building ships. The White Pine had significance in the new world, dating back centuries as a symbol of peace for the Iroquois Indians, but it took on new significance for the the colonists with the “Broad Arrow Act” that claimed the best trees for The Crown. Some of the earliest rebellions against the British rule revolved around the claim to the Eastern White Pine.
The phrase “Appeal to Heaven,” dated back to John Locke’s “Second Treatise of Civil Government,” in which he argued “where there lies no appeal on earth, viz. to judge, whether they have just cause to make their appeal to heaven.”
The flag on Washington’s schooners was a powerful image. The pine tree, a representation of the intolerable treatment of the Colonists by the British Crown, and the motto “Appeal to Heaven,” as a reminder that when no one is left to administer justice on earth, they could appeal to The Creator.
I was first introduced to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag while I was in the 2012 Republican Leadership for Georgia class. Several legislators, including my RLG classmates Sam Teasley, Delvis Dutton, Kevin Cooke, Bruce Williamson and John Pezold were introduced to the flag and it’s history at the same time. You will now find a good number of GA legislators that put this flag on their lapel every day, as a reminder of our history, and as a reminder that the final appeal, for anything worth fighting for, should not be an appeal to man.
I am not a guy that wears a lot of suits and ties. I work in an environment that lies on the casual side of business casual, but I was recently sworn into an appointed position on the Cobb County Board of Elections, which required a bit more formality from my attire. When I slipped on my jacket, I realized I wanted to wear my “Appeal to Heaven” lapel pin, out of solidarity with my friends in the legislature, and as a reminder that I may be faced with decisions that require more than an appeal to my peers.
As I fastened the pin to my lapel, I thought about my brother in law, Travis Roberts, and something he had said to me a few days prior,”All I can do is take my chemo and pray.” Travis is battling cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer. This cancer is the evil cousin of colon and prostate cancer. There is no survival rate.
The odds for our Founders seemed impossible, as they decided to fight the tyranny of the British Empire, and yet they made their Appeal to Heaven, and found a way to overcome. The odds for Travis are impossible, and yet, every day he and hundreds on his behalf make their Appeal to Heaven, in hopes of a miracle or the miracle of a medical breakthrough.
Travis has a rare cancer that receives very little research funding, but there is a small movement of people rallying around Travis that we call #TravsArmy. These people are are constantly Appealing to Heaven on his behalf. This month is Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month, and #TravsArmy is appealing not just to heaven, but to you as well to spread the word.
Please join #TravsArmy as someone who prays for him and the others who are fighting Bile Duct Cancer, or as someone who helps spread awareness about this rare cancer on Facebook and twitter, or as someone who donates money to find a cure for this killer.
You can find out more about Travis and his story at www.concretefaith.org and you can find out more about bile duct cancer at http://www.cholangiocarcinoma.org
You can fact check my story telling and recalling of history on the following websites: