I was watching one of the usual patriotic retrospective type shows that airs on the obscure cable channels on the 4th of July, and during a fireworks display, the last two stanzas of the national anthem played. I don’t know why it came to mind but as I listened, I thought it was important to note that those two lines (you know, the ones that come right before “Play Ball” or the first commercial break) are really a question. “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Most people are familiar with the song’s history, written (or at least dreamed up) by Francis Scott Key as he sat in the brig of a British ship during the War of 1812, watching the flag over Fort McHenry as the “rockets’ red glare” illuminated it and showed him that the Brits had not taken the fort. It’s a battle anthem, which is why the peacenik left hates it. It expressly acknowledges that this country was forged in fire and that its continued survival means sometimes some of us need to fight for it. I don’t know if Mr. Key meant for his closing line to just be looking towards the end of the then-present conflict with England, or if he meant for it to be more prospective and forward-looking than that, but I think today that the end line goes both ways. The question, does that flag still fly over America, is and always will be a valid one, especially as forces try to undo us from within and cede our sovereignty to the UN. But the other question, is it still flying over the land of the free and the home of the brave, is just as important now.
Realistically, we’re a long way yet from the point where anyone would ever be able to conquer us. Doesn’t matter what kind of firepower the North Koreans manage to scrape together, nor does it matter if every last Muslim on Earth was to bum-rush us, at the end we might be bloodied but we’d win. The bigger question is whether we are still the land of the free and the home of the brave. As I said earlier, I think for the most part, whether the dinosaur media wants us to believe it or not, we still are. But we cannot be so naive as to assume we always will be so, and we will not remain both free and brave if we are not vigilant.
Grill your hamburgers and watch your fireworks. Enjoy your lives my friends. But don’t go dark. Don’t let yourself be lulled to sleep or turned off by the nonsense. And whenever you hear Francis Scott Key’s words, answer that last question to yourself. Our flag will be there when the night passes. We must be there to make sure it keeps flying.