“Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
- Francis Scott Key – “The Star Spangled Banner”
Have you ever noticed that our national anthem ends in a question? It is not a statement of fact, and I find that unique. For it means that our national anthem is not just a statement, it is a challenge to each and every one of us.
Francis Scott Key wrote the words to what would become our national anthem after witnessing the British Navy bombard Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. For you see, the ideals and vision that the flag symbolized were under attack by others and it was never certain that the flag would remain after such an attack. Well, it did, as it has in the 203 years since that day. Today, our flag and this anthem are again under attack, not by cannon but by ideas and people that bend knees. I hear so many stories and reports of why knees are bending that I felt called to share my side, of why my knees do NOT bend.
I stand because I bury veterans.
I stand because I see our children wearing ROTC uniforms and presenting the colors at football games.
I stand because I honor my family members who served in our military.
I stand because the pledge of allegiance I learned in school taught us we were ONE nation, under God.
I stand because our anthem is not a statement, it is a question, and one that I must remember to stand for every day and not take for granted.
While we take time in life to live, laugh and love, let us never forget the sacrifices required over those 200 plus years that allow us to do so. Sacrifices by men and women of all color, races and creeds. Sacrifices that had one thing in common, a rally and call to defend our flag. And when that question of whether our flag still flies is asked at the end of each and every performance of our anthem, let us all stand and share a unified resounding “Yes, it still flies.” and we remain ONE nation.