Wednesday, September 14, 2016

O Say Can You?

O Say Can You See?

(Happy Anniversary)

We have been given a beautiful anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Those citizens who choose not to acknowledge our flag, those who choose division over unity, and those who choose to bring attention to themselves or their special interest groups, rather than accrediting the lives spent to give them liberty; those people are blind. When asked the question, “Oh Say Can You See?, the answer would have to be “No”. They don’t see, and we can all pity them for their blindness.

We cannot wait to teach our children to see until we think that they are old enough to comprehend the whole picture. If we do, we are guaranteed that they will not see. As parents and leaders we have a purpose and a duty to the rising generation. We have to dig back to our roots. Whether we are seventh generation Americans or new to America, we need to know the history of The United States of America and pass that on to our children.

My parents were both born in Europe and chose to become United State’s citizens. I am thankful. Their lives and their gratitude have much to do with my feelings of patriotism for this great Country I call home because of them. I also have my third grade teacher, Miss Nakahara, to thank for instilling in me a love for Country. She taught us "The Star Spangled Banner" and the other great hymns that show reverence for and love of Country and fellowmen. Because of people like them, I am not blind; but, I do see.

Is there ugliness in history? Yes, there can be. But our freedom and our patriotism centers in and commemorates the beauty of our freedoms, gained, regained, and sustained by men and women who love freedom.

When we look back to our beginnings, we know that there really were many who sacrifice their lives and their sacred honor and all their worldly goods to establish this new nation and give us freedom from the oppression we felt from England. They could see. They had a vision of the importance of our freedom, and that America would be a beacon on a hill and a light to the world, in helping many others obtain freedom.

So from before 1776 to 1812, our forbears were willing to keep fighting to maintain the freedom they had secured. England would not let go so reluctantly and kept trying to suppress us in any way possible, with their own forces and with paid mercenaries.

Some argue that Francis Scott Key’s poem, “Defence of Fort M'Henry,” (which was written on 14 September 1814—nearly 200 years ago) should not have become our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While we have other patriotic songs that do serve us well, none is so clear about our history, our mission, and our destiny. The very words that Key used in his poem, “O Say Can You See?”, concerning our flag still waving after our troops were bombarded by the British at Fort McHenry, are the words which echo today. Our flag and our Country have gone through some terrible setbacks, but we are not defeated. The flag is still waving.

Some think that she is not waving triumphantly any more, but that is because they have lost focus on what is most important. They don’t view our history with gratitude, nor do they envision our future with hope. We have to remember that the lenses through which our forebears saw our Country and our future were pricey. Their determination came with the cost of work and constant vigilance.

We owe a debt of gratitude to them and to the many men and women since then who have served to protect us and keep us free. There cannot be any patriotism without gratitude. There may be those who confuse patriotism with prideful arrogance, but patriotism is born of humble gratitude to those who have done for us that which we could not do alone for ourselves, who have given us that which we could not obtain ourselves.

In order to see, we need to remember. We need to remember those who serve and thank them. We need to remember to be good role models and to clearly point out who the true heroes are. 

The coach in the following video made sure that his team had an understanding of that. He helped them see. 

I love our flag and I love our anthem. Why? The reason is clear. It is because I can see that they represent so much more that a piece of cloth and a song. They represent our beginnings, and they represent ever drop of blood spilled from every wounded and dying soldier, and ever tear shed from every soldier’s wife or mother, son or father.

We have been given a beautiful anthem and a precious flag which can serve to bind us together in these The United States of America, if we choose to remember, and if we choose to see. But we need to open our eyes. If we open our eyes, our hearts should follow.

O Say Can You See?

  1. 1. 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, 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 thru 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?
  2. 2. On the shore, dimly seen thru 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! Oh, long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
  3. 3. Oh, thus be it ever, when free men 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 Pow'r 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!
Text: Francis Scott Key, 1779-1843
Music: John Stafford Smith, 1750-1836