American Symbols 

 I’ve held this back for a couple days for obvious reasons. But I decided we needed to start the conversation somewhere. So why not start here.

“A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril. ” ~ Winston S. Churchill

The other night I heard a news commentator say an odd statement. “All we have is love of country.” After that, he followed it up by saying that in America, we have different languages, different religions and different political views. Now of course, since we are a nation of immigrants, this is expected. And while Freedom of Speech and Religion is protected, so to is the freedom to be yourself with your own set of beliefs and values. However, to continue having these freedoms we have some basic responsibilities such as respect. In the past I wrote a 3 part blog post titled Rights and Responsibilities that details just that – our Responsibilities to keep our Rights.

In light of the current political climate, and everyone from coast to coast weighing in on a certain topic, I wanted to put in my 2 cents. Not so much as a rant but perhaps more as a voice of reason. To maybe present a more objective view on the matter. Yes, I’m talking about taking a knee during the national anthem. To put the outrage that many Americans feel into perspective, let’s briefly look at history because many lessons can be learned by looking at where we came from along with our mistakes.

“The Star-Spangled Banner”, was written by amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. He did not write it because he saw the flag being waved during the battle but because he saw it waving the morning after, when we victorious in that battle. It inspired him and gave him hope.

The custom of standing during the national anthem goes back to a West Point ceremony in 1891. It wasn’t until 1916 when the president designated “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, but Congress didn’t do so until 1931.

I don’t think I need to get into all the details about recent events. I’m talking about when San Francisco 49’ers Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem, or when President Trump spoke about it at a rally in Alabama and that weekend most, if not all, of the NFL players, coaches and owners all took a knee or the other events since then. Those wounds are still fresh with all who are involved, but I do ask that you hear me out on a couple of points.

While this country may be flawed, it’s still the best one to live in. Just think of how many people want to emigrate here. Also think about all we can do or say(within reason of course) without punishment. How many other countries can you do that? Not many. How many other countries can you express outrage and disgust and a leader like some have and not get arrested if not killed? None that I can think of.

It is a civic tradition to stand with hand on heart to honor all those who’ve made it possible for us to live in the land of the free and home of the brave. It’s not about the president, the NFL or even real or perceived rampant and systemic social injustices. When you protest the flag or the anthem you are actually protesting the very country that allows you to protest. You’re also spitting the men and women who have in the past, are currently, and will in the future fight and die for your right to do it. They made it possible for you to achieve your goals and the ability to achieve those goals…even if your goal in life is to be a couch potato.  

I have family members who fought in various wars and I have heard the horror stories about what these brave men and women have gone thru. Horrors that you can’t even imagine…horrors not even close to being depicted on the silver screen…horrors that changed these brave soldiers who fight internal demons every day, some every waking moment, for us and our Freedoms.

Would you be willing to put on a soldier’s or first responder’s uniform and do the job they sign up to do and see the horrors they see? Could you sacrifice the things they sacrifice? These brave men and women risk their lives and sacrifice everything so that you and I can maintain our freedom and Values that we hold dear. Seriously, could or would you be able to do it? My guess is probably not.

Do you have a right to protest? Heck yea you do. However, tho you may say that doing this gesture is to help to unify the country, all it has achieved was that the country is divided even more than it is now. Find a different platform instead of taking a knee during the national anthem. Stand up, speak out(respectfully) but also do something to make it better. Go to the inner city and show the children and parents that you made good choices that helped you live the American dream. Give them hope and inspiration that they can do it too. Don’t teach them about oppression and that they’ll never make it. If you made it big then why can’t they?

Think about it for one moment. If you heard from your idol that you wouldn’t make it because you live in a country that oppresses people based on race, gender, creed, etc would you have pushed yourself to get where you are? Honestly, probably not.

On behalf of many Americans, I request a simple yet big request. Don’t take away from two things that unify this country – the national anthem and the American Flag. All of you in the entertainment industry, whether it’s sports, music or the silver screen, have incredible platforms. Please choose some other way to protest – any other way than the things that unify us and makes us the greatest nation to live in.

On a final note, to the Cleveland Browns and Indians. My father was a die hard fan of both teams – even thru your slumps. After his passing, I took over rooting for both teams even tho I’m more of a football fan than I am a baseball fan. As long as the Cleveland Browns continue to take a knee, I will have my back to you. As long as the Indians stand in respect of the American Flag and the National Anthem, you have my support.

Thought for the day: Just as you have free speech and a right to protest, so do those of us who disagree with you. However, instead of protesting, why don’t we try to have meaningful conversations on the hot button topics. Let’s be part of the solution today, not part of the problem.  


***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


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About Bella’s Thoughts. This is a project that I began in my mind a number of years ago when I began reading some daily meditations. I had my own thoughts on many occasions and attempted to journal many times without success. It began to take shape when I took on another project for a Spiritual Advisor and dear friend who past away. To learn more about me read my very first blog post. For more daily reflections go to...

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