Our flag still waves for our freedom


The United States of America is resilient.

Take the flag that flew over Fort McHenry more than 200 years ago as a visible symbol of our country’s strength and perseverance.

American lawyer Francis Scott Key was the first witness to this truth. As he watched the continuous bombardment of the Baltimore fort by the British on September 13, 1814, Key kept watch for the flag.

As long as the flag stood, Key knew the fort and city were safe.

He wanted to be assured the American flag was still there.

It was.

After a day-long battle, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up.

“And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb 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?”

You’ll recognize the above lines from “The Star-Spangled Banner”, our country’s national anthem. Key penned these words and many more as he watched the battle rage on.

Now, more than 200 years later, the flag and anthem remain as symbols to never give up.

Just as we have throughout the past two centuries, our country faces strife, contention and battles. They may not be physical battles with a downpour of shells and rockets like those at Fort McHenry faced, but spiteful words, political divide, discrimination and hatred rage on.

Americans need to come together, regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status or other characteristics that divide us. We can have our disagreements and differences, but the downright disrespect and hatred that so many express must stop.

Let’s remember the freedoms we have as a country that are symbolized by the flag. Many men and women have died to attain and retain those freedoms.

As the anthem continues:

“Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d 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.”

Now housed in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the flag Key watched all those years ago no longer waves in the wind. It is a worn and tattered version of what it once was.

Yet, it still evokes a sense of pride, hope and unity.

By working together and being cordial to one another, we can keep the flag flying - in a figurative sense - for all of us as well as future generations.

One way to do this is by attending the Independence Day Celebration this Saturday, July 1 at Veterans Memorial Park in Barnwell. It’s a great time to come together as a community for an evening of fun, food, fellowship and fireworks.

While you are there, look up at the huge American flag raised there and consider what that flag means to you, your family, your community and nation.

We ask that you also consider all that it has taken to keep an American flag flying for the 241-year life of our nation.

May the flag and our nation be forever free.