9-27-17Don't Shoot the Messenger

O 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 through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through 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 in the stream:

‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country, should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

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!

President Herbert Hoover signed the bill on March 4, 1931, officially adopting “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem of the United States of America. 

I learned to feel these words in my heart, at my parent’s knee, way before I understood their meaning. My education continued in every classroom, sporting event and celebration. 

You may ask, why the lesson on our National Anthem? Last week I heard a news story about a team of eight-year-old football players that took a knee during the National Anthem with their coach’s blessing. Umm… You fumbled the ball on this one coach. Just exactly how much social injustice can an eight-year-old have endured? Since Colin Kaepernick started this disrespectful media circus a year ago, it has spread like a cancer. Which brings me to my next point.

Sporting events are entertainment. Athletes are paid insane amounts of money to distract us. That’s their job. What isn’t their job is to become a political platform. To disrespect our president, our flag and our country. Not your president, you say? Well unless you are planning on immigrating, he is. That’s why we had an election. And while there are times I shake my head and personally would like to delete the presidential Twitter account, I pray for wisdom and guidance for President Trump. Why would you want him to fail? If he fails, don’t we as a nation fail as well?

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell’s response to President Trump’s comment, almost made my head explode. President Trump said that if the athletes won’t respect their flag and country, fire them. Goodell stated that President Trump had disrespected the NFL. Mr. Goodell, are you really so narcissistic to believe that your opinion, which is your constitutional right, holds more weight than the Commander in Chief of the United States of America?

In indignation over the start of the American Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. added a fifth stanza to the StarSpangled Banner in 1861, 

When our land is illumined with Liberty’s smile,

If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,

Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile

The flag of her stars and the page of her story!

By the millions unchained who our birthright have gained,

We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave

While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

Truer words were never spoken. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said,  “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Finding an avenue to address social and racial disparity without wiping your feet on my flag and disguising rude and disrespectful behavior behind the first amendment would be a good start.

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