I must agree, while Ray Charles
and other versions of America the Beautiful are awesome and yes do portray
the beauty and depth of this country and its roots, especially the second
verse, "Oh Beautiful for Patroits dreams that see beyond the years", it
does not represent the power and dignity of America.
When I stand at attention,
and hear the "Star Spangled Banner" I can see the "rockets red glare",
the rugged determination of that little group of soldiers at Ft McHenry
refusing to surrender. When I hear majesty of its music, I can visualize
the Marines on Wake Island, the men on Bataan, and Corregidor that would
check every morning to see if the flag on the Rock was still there, and
the empty feeling as they started the Death March when it was gone.
My step father, a Marine
SGM, said that when he saw that flag raised on Iwo it was like a jolt of
electricity (he saw the second raising, not the first), he could hear National
Anthem in his mind.
I can remember coming back
from a mission to Nha Trang AFB, and as we were sorting out the 'Yards,
and trying to get on the trucks, they played the Star Spangled Banner,
as they did every night at 1800, and myself and four other very dirty,
smelly Americans in ripped uniforms stood there with tears streaming down
our dity faces, as we saluted the flag. The majesty of its notes
striking deeply into our hearts.
As we Americans do not swear
alligence to a President, a King, or a Parliment, but to a document that
provides the basis for our Freedoms, our Constitution, let us not salute
a musical picture of our country as our national anthem, but let us continue
to render honors to the banner that symbolizes what this country was built
on: the white stripes of truth, the red stripes for our patroits blood,
the blue of our free skies, and the stars representing the states of our
republic, e pluribus unim, "from many, one."
Maybe it is good that the
National Anthem is so difficult to sing, almost a personal version for
each American, it makes us work a little to pay homage to our country.
During the black days of the last administration I often wondered if "our flag was still there" when I woke up in the morning, but regardless or the shame and dishonor heaped on it by those in power, by each "dawn's early light" proudly waving declaring that no dictator, no slimeball could dirty those colors forever. I think today it waves a little prouder, because people once again realize what importance it represents.