Friday, October 26, 2007

Patriotism-Guest Blog From LilWitch


I see people putting aside their differences (most of which are pretty petty and unimportant anyway, in the grand scheme of things) to work together toward a common goal, which is saving what’s left of our country and the world while there is still time. We are on the brink of nuclear annihilation, brought there by a “president” who is a raging lunatic itching to pull the trigger on Armageddon, while spying on all of us in the name of protecting us from some shadowy boogeyman. He has been abetted by an American populace more interested in the tabloid news and the latest gizmo from Microsoft or Apple to see how close we are to losing not just our cherished freedoms but our very ability to survive on this planet. But now, I see, through the message boards, that the people are starting to wake up, to find their righteous anger and to begin to figure out how we can stop this lunatic before he destroys us all with a flash and a mushroom cloud. I see people from every side of the political spectrum setting aside those positions that divide us and seeking the center from which real action can be planned and achieved. I find myself, for the first time in a long time, proud to be an American, because people are waking up to the reality of what it actually means to be an American and how close we are to losing all of that.
That which divides us, makes us weak; that which unites us, makes us strong. When the river is rising and threatening to flood the valley, do you care what church the guy filling sandbags next to you goes to? Do you care who sleeps with whom or what their view is on Roe v. Wade? No! What you care about is whether you all can fill and stack enough sandbags to keep the waters from flooding your home, your farm, your business.
People sing the Star-Spangled Banner, without even thinking about the words or what those words mean. And it’s not even called the Star-Spangled Banner--it’s the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was written as anthem, a celebration of those who rose to oppose the abuses of power by a leader who no longer cared about or served the interests of the people over whom he claimed authority. It was also a call to those in the future to do the same, to resist tyranny, in spite of the risks to one’s own personal safety.
We need to remember those words: the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We need to think about what they mean, to remember those who set the example for us to follow, and to honor them by following their example. Freedom isn’t something anyone can take away, it can only be surrendered by people too unconcerned or afraid to stand up to power and to join together to fight for the things they cherish. People who aren’t willing to fight for their freedom, to suffer and maybe die for it, don’t deserve it.
It’s heartbreaking and infuriating that the people who speak so loudly about our national anthem most often don’t even know all of the words to the first verse. They don’t even know that there are actually four verses, let alone know the words to those other four verses. Very few people know anything about the history of the song itself, that it was written during the War of 1812, (September 14, 1814, to be exact) that it’s original name was the “Defense of Fort McHenry,” or that adopted as our national anthem until March 3, 1931--116 years after it was written. They don’t know that the colors have meaning--red for courage, white for integrity, and blue for compassion. We need to come together and show the world that we still hold those values. LilWitch

Batmanchester note: For those of you who don't know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner, here they are:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.O say, does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly sworeThat the havoc of war and the battle's confusionA home and a country should leave us no more?Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued landPraise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


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