Our National Anthem

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“Oh say, can you see?” The nationwide anthem of the United States of America isn’t a remark. It’s a query. And we, my buddies, are the country in query.

I used to be status aspect degree with a mic in my hand on the point of sing the nationwide anthem at a NASCAR race. The most sensible 8 finalists for a well-liked TV making a song contest simply gotten up and beaten “God Bless America.” And I’m meant to simply move forward and sing the anthem. No accompaniment, simply me. So I get started in.

And then midway in the course of the anthem, my renegade thoughts begins to wander. Instead of specializing in the lyrics and pitch and making it thru to “the home of the brave,” my mind begins to research the sentence construction. For the document, I’m now not the fellow to parse out sentence construction. Besides, even though our country’s anthem is grammatically attention-grabbing, syntax used to be almost definitely the worst factor I may well be fascinated with proper then. Distraction from the duty to hand may result in offended NASCAR lovers, and offended NASCAR lovers is rarely the objective.

So there I used to be ― nonetheless making a song this anthem. Still fascinated with grammar. It used to be an out-of-body revel in. I used to be in 3 puts directly; my mouth and my lungs have been making a song; my mind used to be considering the syntax; and one thing past my mind used to be yelling at my mind to concentrate.

Nonetheless, that used to be the instant that I noticed what the nationwide anthem of the United States of America intended to me. And all of it comes all the way down to punctuation.

Our nationwide anthem is composed of 2 meandering questions with a wandering remark in between. The first query is a surprisingly lengthy, run-on sentence that’s particularly simple to get misplaced in. The first phase is going like this:

Oh say are you able to see

via the crack of dawn’s early mild,

what so proudly we hailed

on the twilights closing gleaming…

This could be a excellent position to start a brand new sentence, however the query continues with extra specifics about in regards to the flag.

whose large stripes and brilliant stars,

in the course of the perilous struggle

o’er the ramparts we watched

have been so gallantly streaming?

Here we get slightly extra context of this perilous struggle and a few sparkling adjectives describing the flag. The 2d sentence talks a little bit extra in regards to the fight that went on all over the night time:

And the rockets crimson glare,

the bombs bursting in air,

gave evidence in the course of the night time

that the flag used to be nonetheless there.

This 2d sentence, annunciates that even in the course of the darkish night time of fight the flag used to be nonetheless there, lit up via the sunshine of exploding rockets and bombs.

It’s price noting that even supposing we’re nearly to the top of the anthem, there was nearly no point out of the country over which the flag stands. There’s been a large number of specifics in regards to the flag and the fight, however not anything about liberty or justice. Or honor or patriotism. Just pleasure in hailing the flag within the twilight. The anthem concludes with but some other query:

Oh say does that celebrity spangled banner but wave,

o’er the land of the loose

and the house of the courageous?

And now, within the ultimate two strains of the music, we listen our first few information about the individuals who hail the flag, who’re purportedly “free” and “brave.” And as I stood making a song the ones phrases onstage in entrance of NASCAR lovers, I noticed one thing I had by no means thought of prior to. The maximum necessary, maximum overpassed facet of the nationwide anthem is that this: It’s now not a declaration. It’s a query. “Does the banner yet wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Since we’re making a song those phrases whilst staring on the flag, the query isn’t whether or not or now not the flag remains to be there. The query is for us is that this: Are we the “land of the free and the home of the brave?” Who are we the folk? What is the nature of the country beneath the flag? Do we empower and uphold the liberty and bravado of others, or does our flag wave over a unique more or less land?

Lately, the posture athletes all over our nationwide anthem has turn out to be some extent of anxiety. You would possibly see the movements of Colin Kaepernick and others as a robust non-violent protest ― an attractive method to attract the eye of the country to portions of America which might be lower than gorgeous. Or perhaps, you might be irate, since you’ve concluded this gesture can simplest imply that the anthem of the rustic you like is being disrespected. Maybe you’re feeling that their posture is going too a long way. Even regardless that the gamers have moderately defined (and can proceed to give an explanation for), that they aren’t disrespecting the flag or the country, possibly their movements offend you.

For the ones of you who disagree with the gamers who’re taking a knee, I ask so that you can to be courageous and embody the liberty that the anthem portrays.

For the ones of you who disagree with the gamers who’re taking a knee, I ask so that you can to be courageous and embody the liberty that the anthem portrays. To silence all voices however your personal isn’t energy, however weak spot. It takes bravery to permit others to peacefully disagree with you. It takes braveness to step outdoor of your convenience zone and start to concentrate to some other’s point of view. Remember, those gamers don’t seem to be protesting the flag or the anthem; they’re the usage of this second to protest inequality, police brutality and racial injustice. If those shameful parts have been much less found in our society, there could be no wish to protest.

If you might be disillusioned about other folks kneeling all over the anthem, believe this: Perhaps the participant protesting all over the anthem believes in a larger America than you do. Maybe they imagine that our freedom (specifically our freedom of speech), is bigger than you imagine it to be. Maybe they imagine in an America whose justice totally embraces racial equality. Could it’s that they’re kneeling to convey consideration to the portions of our land this is neither loose nor courageous? Hoping to look a land that lives as much as our anthem, a land this is freer and braver than the America we are living in?

Maybe bravery is doing the appropriate factor within the face of risk. Even when your scared. Maybe a land is loose simplest when the parents in price abstain from implementing their restrictions at the other folks who disagree with them. Ask your self a decent query. If the gamers have been kneeling to attract consideration to fallen squaddies, do you suppose our society would have an issue with their posture? Are we indignant via the way wherein those gamers are protesting? Or is it the content material of what they’re protesting?

Yes, I’m pleased with my nation. I’m pleased with my grandfathers, my buddies, and neighbors who’ve fought for our freedom. Even regardless that it’s onerous to sing, I really admire our nationwide anthem. And but, blind nationalism can not assist us ahead. After all, America is a country in procedure. Not not like her anthem, America is extra of a query mark than a remark. Our country is an ongoing experiment chasing after beliefs like liberty, honor and justice for all. A country of immigrants outlined via a promise, fairly than a nationality or a geography or a language.

Who will get to come to a decision what America way? They do. You do. I do. We the folk make a choice our trail. “Does that star spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?” You inform me. After all, the nationwide anthem of the United States of America isn’t a remark. It’s a query. And, we’re the country in query.

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