Please Rise During the Playing of Our National Anthem


The United States Flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore

This week marked the 200th anniversary of a set of lyrics written by Francis Scott Key. If you haven’t learned your history, Francis Scott Key observed an enormous United States flag flown above Fort McHenry while being held captive aboard a British vessel in the Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The Battle of Baltimore commenced with bombs and munition aimed at this flag that just continued to wave in defiance. On and on, throughout the night, the flag was targeted with everything the British had in its arsenal. Surely, by morning, that stupid flag…the symbol of freedom from tyranny…would be decimated. But, when the sun rose the following morning, there is was…the flag was still there. Though it was full of holes and badly damaged, the flag survived the night and the fight. And, so did that generation of Americans who eventually fought off the British once again in what some term as the second War of Independence.

During special memorials, the Star Spangled Banner is sung (ironically set to an old British drinking song called Anacreon in Heaven) to honor those who had humbly fought for the rights of others. All are asked to rise. Men are asked to remove their hats. Some may place their right hand over their heart. Some hands and placed behind backs. Some heads may bow down. Some shed tears of remembrance of fallen loved ones. Some may salute the flag. While the US flag is not a god, it is a symbol that represents the freedoms fought for by some and shared by many.

Unfortunately, there are some who disrespect the US flag. They choose not to stand. They raise one fist in defiance. They turn they backs. And you know what? Because of what that flag stands for, they have that freedom. However, their display shows not only disrespect for the flag, it also show their ignorance for American history. It shows cowardice. It shows that they disrespect the freedoms that they enjoy while visiting or living in the United States.

Freedom isn’t free…in fact it is quite expensive. The Revolutionary War was fought for eight years (1775 – 1783) and began as an abrupt attack on the munitions and guns stored in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts. The British figured that if the munitions and guns were taken, the people would succumb to the power of the King. The next generation fought the War of 1812 (1812 – 1814) and the Americans finally asserted itself as a worldly power. Other unfortunate wars followed…the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf Wars and many other conflicts that demanded much from our valiant troops. Many millions of Americans have died in battle for the rights you enjoy today. So, don’t let a day go by without thinking about those who never knew you yet fought for you.

There is honor in standing, removing hats, staring at the flag…and even shedding a tear in remembrance of those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Gives me goosebumps…every time…

Article by John Coder

Posted September 15, 2014


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