Remembering the reasons for anthem

Posted 10/8/17

To The Editor:Our society allows people to express their opinion no matter how distasteful it is to the rest of the country.They have every right to take a knee at the singing of the national anthem, …

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Remembering the reasons for anthem


To The Editor:

Our society allows people to express their opinion no matter how distasteful it is to the rest of the country.

They have every right to take a knee at the singing of the national anthem, if they choose. However, that is where their rights stop.

We have every right to disagree with them and choose to boycott their games. We are America. The news media looks to blame someone, saying we don't support the players' First Amendment  right to kneel. That is bogus. It is a slight of hand.

We must ask ourselves why the proponents of the First Amendment for the players don't seem to be concerned about "our" First Amendment rights to voice our disapproval. It's [nonsense].

I think it is absolutely fine for players to take a knee at our national anthem. However, they should be prepared for the consequences of their choice. Personally, I choose to exercise my First Amendment right to speak my mind in support of "The Star Spangled Banner." 

Most of us have never heard the story of the national anthem's creation. We have lost the significance of the song. So here is what happened:

History records that during the War of 1812, which was the second conflict with England, Francis Scott Key was involved in a prisoner exchange between the United States and England. He had rowed out into the harbor to meet with the British Admiralty to discuss terms, and had agreed to a one-to-one prisoner exchange. 

Mr. Key went below deck and told the American prisoners, "Boys, you are free. We have negotiated a trade."

The American prisoners were bound in chains and confined to living in cages built for criminals with no sanitation, and only bread and water to eat and drink. When Mr. Key went above deck to prepare the documents for release, the admiral met Mr. Key and informed him that the agreement reached would be honored. However, he added, "It will be merely academic after tonight."

The admiral told Mr. Key to look on the horizon and see the hundreds of British vessels sailing toward them. The admiral informed him these ships were the entire British Navy bearing down on their location and would be there within two hours. Their intention was to "remove Fort McHenry from the face of the earth."

But, the American people had been given an out. They were told that if at any time they lowered their flag, the shelling would stop and America would return under British rule. 

The barrage started and continued for three hours. Francis Scott Key reported that there was no relief from the number of guns unloading on the fort. The deafening sounds and the smoke from the guns were all-encompassing. 

He said the flag that he saw the night before could be seen in the dark standing on the rampart during the explosions that night. The prisoners below deck kept asking, "Is the flag where we last saw it?" Key reported, "It's there, it's there."

The admiral summoned Mr. Key and said, "You people don't understand. There is no way that flag is going to stand! For the next three hours we are going to train every gun on that flag and lower it for them."

All through the night this went on. As the sun started to rise the next morning, the shelling stopped. The morning haze in the harbor was lifting and everyone waited to see if that flag was flying.

There it stood on the rampart. Bent at  an angle and torn to shreds, but still flying. 

Francis Scott Key rowed ashore to see the condition of the fort. He was told the flag had suffered several direct hits and had been knocked down, but the men of the fort — knowing that the shelling was focused on the flag — picked it up and held it for the Admiralty to see. Each man knew he was going to his death.

When those men fell, more men would come and hold the flag. That was the reason the flag was bent at an angle. These dead Americans were still holding the flag up by their corpses. It was then that Key penned these words:

"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light; What so proudly we held 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 rocket's 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."

George Washington said, "The thing that sets the American apart is that he will die on his feet, rather than live on his knees."

— Chuck Martin



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