These days, some people are disenchanted with our country, and even willing to disrespect our flag, so I thought that today might be a good day to talk about our flag, our nation, and our national anthem. In the early days of our nation’s history, war was a rather common. The Revolutionary war and the freedom that came with it, did not mean that our enemies were done battling with us. In 1812, Britain was again at war with the United States, in the War of 1812, which lasted until 1815. British attempts to restrict United States trade, the Royal Navy’s impressment of American seamen and America’s desire to expand its territory, all contributed to the breakout of war. While there were defeats in battle, including the capture and burning of the nation’s capital, Washington DC, in August 1814, American troops were able to repulse British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, which boosted national confidence and fostered a new spirit of patriotism. The ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the war but left many of the most contentious questions unresolved. Nonetheless, many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,” beginning an era of partisan agreement and national pride. When I think of how things have changed since those days, I and both extremely sad and extremely mad.
During the War of 1812, the friend of a man named Francis Scott Key was taken prisoner by the British. His name was Dr William Beanes. Key went down to Baltimore, Maryland located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. The British agreed to release Beanes, but would not let either of the men leave the ship until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about eight miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed. The date was September 13, 1814. The poem Key wrote that day…originally called “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” was changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1931. Most people would recognize that as our national anthem. The song told of the battle that Key was forced to watch, while praying that Fort McHenry could withstand the attack. That was probably one of the longest days of his life, but when the rockets would flash, he could see the flag, proudly waving…and afterward proclaiming the victory.
That flag and that song are both tributes to the brae men, and now women, who willingly fought and even gave up their lives for this nation…for our freedom, the very freedom that allows it’s citizens to have free speech, which so many now use to disrespect our flag, our national anthem, our soldiers, and every respectful citizen of this country. These same people somehow wonder how we can be so upset with them…or maybe they know and like the drama queens they are, they love the drama of being on the wrong side of right and wrong. They just don’t like the consequences…such as people’s refusal to support them in their treason. As for me…I don’t believe in giving them any place in my story. I am a patriot…I will always be a patriot, and I will always honor our nation’s flag, anthem, and the soldiers who fought for our freedom.
For a child, perception is everything. It isn’t necessarily how things really are, but rather how the child thinks things are. The other day, while Bob and I were out walking, we saw a jet fly over…not an unusual sight, by any means…but, on this occasion, Bob mentioned the contrails, and I was reminded of my perception of jets as a child. I have always loved watching jets or planes of any kind flying overhead, but of the jets, I had a different idea as a child. A different perception about what was happening in the skies above me. I thought the jets were scratching the sky. I suppose it sounds silly, now…as an adult, but then again, it isn’t such an odd idea really, and maybe in a way, they are. Still, it is not a commonly accepted, and certainly not scientific cause of contrails.
The mind of a child works differently than that of an adult. They might hear a song, such as our national anthem, and wonder to themselves, or even ask their parents, what a Dawnserly Light is. That could be because they don’t often hear the word dawn, or because the song tends to run the two words together, making them sound like one, or maybe the child just thinks this is some new word they have not heard before, and they want to know about this obviously special kind of light that everyone sings about all the time. It must be special, if it is in a song. Their minds imagine a light so beautiful that is has been given this special name…Dawnserly!! And when you think about it, the sunrise is really quite spectacular, whether it is Dawnserly or just the early light of dawn, but a child’s perception of it makes it into something so much more beautiful, that you start to think that maybe it does need a special name, and what better name for it than Dawnserly anyway.
One of the funniest childlike perceptions is the one most of us will hear at some point in our lives…you know the one…that 30 is old. Age looks so different to a child. I suppose that it has to do with the fact that they feel like their own lives are moving so slowly that they will never be thirty…therefore, thirty must be an old age…right? They see a thirty year old as if they are the same age as an eighty year old. Many of us have laughed that off, chalking it up to the fact that they are kids, and they soon will learn. Yes, they will learn, but only when they lose that childlike perception of things. It is a time that will come to pass in each person’s life, but sometimes I find that a bit sad, because in reality, what is wrong with seeing things differently from what others see. Maybe those kids will eventually look back and know how silly it was to think that thirty is old, but even adults can see pictures in the clouds, so, I don’t think it’s such a huge stretch to envision a jet scratching the sky.