Sometimes the pieces of life are so messy, aren’t they? They spark so much emotion, and that emotion leads us to be so unkind. I really struggled with all the posts I saw yesterday in my Facebook newsfeed regarding the NFL. I know this all started many months back, but somehow yesterday it all just hit me like a ton of bricks. It all made me feel really “icky” and coming from a military family, my emotion too started to rise. I began to get defensive and angry and well, that’s not very helpful now is it?
Sometimes I just have to write things to get them straight in my soul, to find a place of peace with things, and to critically think thru an issue without my mouth getting me in trouble. Maybe it’ll offer a different perspective, maybe it won’t; just one person’s opinion in an endless sea……My compass is simply kindness, and all of the following words are written with love, respect and a desire to leave the world better than I found it. ❤️
So much emotion and so much division over the one single thing that unites us all is honestly somewhat baffling to me. Truly, how did we get here? I do understand that having being born a white woman, I will probably never understand some facets of this, I understand that, though I do try very hard to see things from all perspectives. I was left with a lot of questions yesterday. We’re directing our personal thoughts and feelings at our National Anthem? Is our anthem and our flag not the one single thing that unites us? Before the color of our skin, before our religious beliefs, before our sexual orientation, and before our economic status, are we ALL not Americans? Does the anthem and the flag not stand for unity? Unity of a nation,? Unity of a people? I 110% support the First Amendment, the dots just do not connect for me. How does silently protesting (which is a right you have, paid for with the blood of American soldiers) the National Anthem move anyone closer to the goal?
I’m not really one to spout off in anger as I’ve aged so I really wanted to try and put this all in perspective vs. letting my emotion lead me to putting my foot in my mouth, which I’m occasionally quite good at, so I went to work to understand some of what I was personally feeling. I found breaking down the National Anthem somewhat helpful. (Source)
O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,/What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming: As the sun is rising after a long night of British bombardment of our fort, can you see the flag that was flying last night as the sun set, which, as Americans, we had proudly hailed (saluted) as the light faded and the attack began
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,/Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there: All through the night, the exploding British missiles periodically lit up the flag; every so often we could see that it was still flying, and we had hope that the fort had not surrendered.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? Tell me, is the flag still flying, meaning we have not lost the war, and our nation is still free? (Or is the very different flag of Britain flying over Fort McHenry?)
The song tells the story of how we, the American people, came to be, the fight that our ancestors fought (and that has been fought every generation since) and our flag the banner of the freedom that we fought so hard to acheive. It’s the banner that unites us, and the only thing that we ALL have in common. It’s the story of us ALL. The story obviously breaks off in many directions from there. There are some absolutely shameful, unspeakable horrors in our history, acts that honestly make me feel ashamed, atrocities that I’m not even sure we can collectively fully fathom.
While it does seem we have come a very long way to becoming one people since the battle of 1812, there is still much! much! much! work to be done. I honestly do not know one person who does not think we can do better, we should do better, and that we must leave the world a better place than we found it especially in the area of equality.
So at the end of my journey to understand and put all of the events in place in my soul, I struggle. I struggle very much to connect the dots, to understand how taking a knee, or sheer absence/indifference to the one thing that unites us all in any way moves us, as a people, towards a better tomorrow. How does the “silent protest” against the one and only thing we all have in common help to unite us or bring us closer to solving anything? I still do not understand, but I am at peace with my personal thoughts & feelings and I will continue to respect the opinions of others.
For me, I will stand, hand over my heart, facing that glorious banner, every. single. time. I will be thankful for all the men and women who died to give us the right to kneel and/or be absent for the singing of the National Anthem, and I pray that one day we never, ever have another flag flying above us, I pray that star-spangled banner yet waves/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave forever and that we or generations to come are never forced to sing a different anthem. And finally, I’ll find hope in my fellow man as I pray that we somehow find a way to do better/be better at “….with liberty and justice FOR ALL” without protesting the only thing we have as Americans that unite us ALL, our common ground, our Anthem and our flag. United, we stand.
With much love & respect,