We hear the song everywhere and we stand as Americans to give honor to the flag, but what does this song mean to a Veteran who served in war and called the coordinate's in for the area of impact?
The Star-Spangled Banner, As penned by Francis Scott Key:
"O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watch'd 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?"
Read the words of the anthem one more time; it clearly speaks of a frightening and painful time in the history of the United States. Bombs were slamming into the town, people running and screaming, the bursts which were in the air were more then likely parts of buildings flying into the air after a bomb hit its location. The enemy was giving everything they had to soften the target before they moved upon land. Mr. Key saw the explosions, he saw the damage and heard the noise of fear and panic as he watched over the thick wall at this flag. He noticed as the barrage continued through the night the flag, he studied it, it became his safe place in a battle where he smelled the gunpowder, death and burning wood. He no doubt wondered if he would walk away from the terrible night.
The sun finally starts to come up over the harbor in Baltimore Maryland at Fort McHenry and what does Mr. Key look for? Through the night the bombs were so consuming, the destruction had been almost total, yet he looked up and he saw the one thing which could bring hope. Can you see it? One man looking up after that night and see the flag still flying, he points and says look to his buddy beside him, he looks and soon more are looking and they take in the most glorious sight they could ever have imagined, it still flies, the flag, its up and waving in the just dawns soft light. Can you think of the joy that would run through your veins? Total destruction around you and there "She" is that Grand Old Flag.
The other side of this coin is being a veteran who served in war and gave the coordinates to unleash this hell upon the enemy. Artillery, Rotary wings (helicopters), Fixed wing (Planes) and JDAM's (bombs) all coming in on a location and seeking direction from someone on the ground. The scene is the same as above: people running and screaming, buildings blowing up; the smell of burnt everything, the noise of destruction, the end of the target, lazing target after target to make sure the mission was completed. After a bombing mission there would be no enemy or flag waving. After the fire started to calm down and the screams stopped there was always a small silent window of gratitude.
The 4th of July is our day as Americans to remember what our ancestors did for our country. The flag represents our hope to stand after the "smoke has cleared" and be grateful for what we have. The flag for me and Hallowed Lake stands for Truth, Steadfastness, Immutable, and Loved.
Having been on Funeral Duty while serving it is never okay: to fold the flag wrong, drop the flag, treat the flag with disrespect nor is it okay to turn your back on the flag. I will also say it is never okay to turn your backs on a Veteran, yet our country continues to use Veterans for their cause and then let them go to sink or swim. This is why Hallowed Lake needs your support. Donations are needed to buy land, build a lake and put cabins around it so Veterans can have a place of peace. You say you will help, but only 1% ACTUALLY DO!
Go to www.hallowedlake.org to find the full Star-Spangled Banner all four verses. Go to blog and the dropdown, click on News Letter, there you will find the full song.
Happy 4th of July