by Pat Tarzwell 11/22/17
In this season, it is a good time to reflect on the things we have to be thankful for. I am so thankful for God’s grace and love that I cannot express it in words alone. But there is so much more, (of far less consequence I should add, but much more to be grateful for). I will not burden you with a long and incomplete list, but rather focus on an area that has been under attack of late. Old Glory, The Star Spangled Banner, The Red White and Blue, you know, The American Flag.
I know it is popular to say that the flag itself is nothing more than a piece of cloth and that it is not the symbol of something greater; well I suppose, for some, that is true. But to me it is more than that. I must admit, I am a sappy lover of this nation and I am grateful for all the sacrifices made by others to give me the blessing to live here. But when I hear the National Anthem, and I see the flag being raised, I get a lump in my throat and a welling up in my eyes as I think about those that gave so much for us to be and to stay free…
If you read or study about a poem written just over 203 years ago, “The Defense of Ft. McHenry” (now known as The Star Spangled Banner), you may understand why it moves me so much. The year was 1814 and the battle of Baltimore was underway. Washington was on fire and Baltimore was the key port in America at that time. This local attorney, Francis Scott Key, was asked by then President Madison to go and negotiate the release of a prisoner taken by the British, Dr. Bean, a dear friend of his. You see, Dr. Bean was found to be treating both British and American wounded, so prison it was for him. So Key boards the British ship and is promptly detained because the British were about to attack Fort McHenry, which guarded Baltimore Harbor.
A giant F.Y. to the British and a message to the rest of the world, that this whole freedom thing, yeah, we mean it.
The flames from Washington fires could be seen and the British Admiral could not resist taunting Key about how, when the sun came up, it would be the British Flag flying over the fort. Key is said to have replied to the British admiral that this would never happen because the men, women, and children inside of Fort McHenry would crawl on their knees to their God to be sure the standard of their freedom, the flag, would remain flying and that instead he would find a pile of bodies around that flagpole the next day whether the flag was still on it or not.
As he watched the seemingly endless shelling by the British throughout the night, and listened to the relentless chiding of the Admiral, he worried that the fort could not stand, and that the fort, as well as Baltimore harbor, would fall, thus crippling this new nation so early in its life. But as the sun came up and as the song says, at the twilight’s last gleaming, The Flag was still there and so was the fort, and so was our most important port.
Unbeknownst to him or anyone else outside the fort at that time was what the men, women, and children endured that night in the fort. You see, the British did knock down our flag, and they put it back up. And it got knocked down over and over. But the American spirit would not be broken, and in the wee hours of the morning, in a last act of defiance, the fort commander ordered that the flag be hoisted again: not the normal flag but the giant ceremonial flag that could be seen far and wide. To tell the world, we will not be broken. This is what I think of when that song is played.
The poem’s first verse ends with a question: Oh say does that Star Spangle Banner yet wave, or the land of the free and the home of the brave? Well that is truly a great question. The flag will be waving a long time, but is it still the land of the free? Maybe, mostly, sort of; and the home of the brave? Well that is the part I am thankful for, because there are still brave men and women willing to risk life and limb to keep us free.
So when some over-privileged punks want to say that the flag has no meaning, that they cannot bring themselves to stand during Our National Anthem, I say go pound sand. The people in that fort fought and died for your worthless butt. The many thousands of men and women who fought, died and had to kill their own just to set the slaves free, or to give up their lives or limbs to fight back the leftist totalitarian regimes of the world, did not do so that you could piss on that same symbol.
For me, the flag represents so much more. It represents the idea that this nation will not be ruled by thugs, that we will not be bullied by the likes of a king, a Hitler, a Stalin or even the likes of today’s whiners. It says to the whole world that they can kill us, but they can never take our freedom (sorry to steal from Braveheart but it fit). A giant F.Y. to the British and a message to the rest of the world, that this whole freedom thing, yeah, we mean it.
So for all those that have laid their lives on the line, or given the last full measure of devotion for our freedoms, for those that think the flag represents more than something to wipe their feet on, I am thankful for all of you. Have a wonderful and grateful Thanksgiving Day and May God continue to bless you and this nation.
Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one. • (326 views)