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The National Anthem, Revisited
One of two surviving copies of the 1812 broadside printing of the Defense of Fort McHenry, a poem that later became the national anthem of the United States. Sc
It may be hard on the eyes...
The above image, while difficult to read, is again a result of "serendipity" being that thing I found when looking for something else.
It is the story of how Francis Scott Key came to pen what is now The National Anthem of The United States of America. I am sure that when this attorney from Maryland embarked on his trip, he had no idea he would indeed be inspired to write an epic poem, and it is with equal certainty, that I attest he had no idea that this would one day become our National Anthem. Indeed, in his time, he had been told this country would not stand for long.
Ironic then, isn't it, that our National Motto, "In God We Trust" was actually inspired by the fourth stanza of this song. See, when I read it, I thought that the line was inspired by the motto. Imagine my surprise to find that the motto came from this song.
We never really know where the day's inspiration will come from. Sometimes we set out on a journey to find a few notes to add to an article we've long ago started. Distractions or disturbances may halt our progress in the direction we set out on, sometimes road blocks get in our way and we ultimately end up elsewhere.
Ironically, the Star Spangled Banner was one of those unbelievably serendipitous journeys. To have found this, by such a circuitous route is just so odd. I was trying to finish a hub, and hit a "brick wall" (writer's block). Soon I found myself checking on my Twitter, which ultimately had me trying to find out about some tweets, and then I Googled my name ( for fun) and lo and behold I hadn't finished my profile for Google, so I finished it and found I hadn't finished it on Blogger... Which led to my random question which was to write lyrics for a new National Anthem and include at least one animal sound, and here we are.
How could I possibly...
How could I possibly write a new anthem, and include at least one "animal noise" in it. I know the question was a "random" question to test my mettle and Identify me, it was to find out whether I am serious, or funny...
The Star-Spangled Banner, God Bless America, and The Pledge of Allegiance are ours, as a nation. We don't own our land, not really. Our bodies will come to dust one day, so we don't really own them either.
We own only one thing, our ideology. That's it. No one can give it to us or take it from us. Our individual ideology is often based on what we have been taught, but as we age, we pick and choose what to keep. That becomes ours alone. People will debate it with us, and may help us to see that we must adjust our thinking, it is what makes us comfortable in our own skin, what dictates how we vote, and who we make our purchases from. Our individual ideology is what helps us raise our children, how we decide right from wrong.
Someone may have told us at the beginning who we should follow and believe in, but in adulthood we define our own ideology, and it is never exactly what we were taught it should be.
This is FREEDOM! We are still Free! In spite of who our sovereign is or where our sovereignty lies. Even if you are not a citizen of "The United States of America" , you have the freedom of your own ideology.
Courtesy of http://www.southeastclimbing.com/
I have seen the Purple Mountain's Majesty
I've had some amazing journeys in my life, but there is one that will always stand out in my mind. Time slowed almost to a halt, and I was able to enjoy moments so fully that the pictures are indelibly printed on my mind.
I had the opportunity to drive across the country, from West Palm Beach, Florida to Seattle, Washington. On our journey we went through Kansas City, and St. Louis. We traveled inside mountains whose roads lie between the Gondolas above (going from mine shaft to mine shaft) and the city below. It was all lit up because the sun only shines there for such a short portion of the day. I have yet to return, but if I was going to take a road trip again, I would definitely follow the same route.
While leaving the highway to find fuel somewhere in the west, we turned a corner, and I made my co-worker stop the truck, because the view took my breath away. We had been inside those mountains going west, and on our way back. We hadn't seen this view because we stayed on the path set out for us by Map Quest. The only reason we were seeing it now, was because we were low on fuel.
For as far as the eye could see in either direction was this panoramic view of Purple Mountain's Majesty...
I suddenly understood every word of these songs. I understood the Pledge of Allegiance, and I understood Patriotism. I understood why people would die for their country, and for once in my life I could even get what "One Nation Under God" meant, because looking at those mountains, there must surely be a God...
Wherever you are, and wherever you're from, you must feel an allegiance to someone or something. Your allegiance may not be the same as mine. I do not judge you for with whom or what your allegiance lies.
Some people in the world have decided that it's okay to destroy human lives, innocent ones at that, based on their Allegiance. It happens every day, somewhere in the world, someone is killed for standing up for what or who they believe in. This probably happens every minute, and possibly every second.
I could never choose to pick up a gun and destroy an individual for what they believe in. Just because I am an American, does not make me a soldier. It also does not make me a terrorist, nor does it make me an activist.
I am an activist, yes, but not because I am an American. I am an activist because I can't stand to see children and animals hurt. These are the defenseless ones, and in my book, we who are strong should be protecting the defenseless and helping the helpless. That is my ideology.
I've been active on line for almost 8 months now, and everywhere I go there are people telling me who to "love" and who to "hate"; they tell me what groups I should support and the groups I should "stay away from" and ironically in all of this there is no foundation to base this choice on except the religious background, and the country the people come from.
I bear allegiance to my standard, the stars and stripes, Old Glory. I bear allegiance to the republic for which this stands. It is not an allegiance based on religion or ancestry, but an allegiance based on the dream of freedom.
When people from all over the world decided to leave their countries and strike out on their own in an untamed wild frontier, the hope of freedom was born.
When the Eastern seaboard of these United States began to fill up, people again left their families, their home towns, and moved west, many died along the way, but they died with a hope of freedom.
Many wars were fought, our nation was divided, and mended. Protests were formed, signs were carried, people were shot down in the streets, all for a hope of Freedom.
Today, I am friends with Christians and Catholics, and Muslims and Jews, and Arabs, and Greeks, and Englishmen, and Irishmen... I have friends from every country, every nationality, every religion, and look, we aren't killing anyone, or each other. We all want the same things. This is the hope of FREEDOM!
Do not ever judge me by the friends I keep, and in my presence, please, never try to judge my friends or my country by the actions of a few extremists. Do not tell me about terrorists, without looking at your history books first.
See The Country!
If you are planning to see the country as I have, don't settle for Map Quest when you can have a pocket map of the region. America Rides Maps is the comprehensive site for the maps to take you to see the real America! The great view of The Grand Tetons (see above) was taken by Wayne Busch, a professional cartographer. He has ridden these roads and seen the sights! I would never have seen that view if I'd stuck with the route marked out for me by a computer search. Please visit Americaridesmaps.com. Be sure to tell Wayne Busch you found him here.
America Rides is also a great site to visit if you want a get away, but really don't know where you want to go! Be sure to check it out! You won't be sorry when you read his blog at Smokymountainrider.com and check out the pictures. These are two truly a sweet sites, and another serendipitous find.