The National Anthem is one of the only songs other than the Marine Corps Hymn that gives me the chills. The story it tells of Fort McHenry reflects the deepest good of the American people. It takes a special kind of person to live for something larger than themselves. To be willing to lay down lay down one’s life for a piece of cloth.
Our flag is part of the American Mythos. It is the sacred representation of our ideals and virtues embodied by the great men and women of all races from our past. The Greeks had Achilles and Odysseus. The Romans had Aeneas, Caesar, and Horatius. We as Americans have our own heroes: heroes like Washington, Lincoln, Douglass, and Crockett… Roosevelt, Anthony, Kyle, and King, to name only a few. Heroes of strength. Of courage. Of honor. Men and Women who believed in what the flag represented and whose legacies were forever woven in the fabric of that American Mythos. Their stories paved the way for those after them to take up that Star Spangled Banner and continue pressing forward towards the ideal.
We haven’t always been perfect. We haven’t always moved forward. But it was our belief in that mythos that gave us strength. Our buy-in to a national vision that transcended lifetimes. Serving your country isn’t about carrying a gun and going overseas, although it very well can be… It’s about believing in that Mythos, honoring that great fabric of stories, and carrying on the work of those Heroes that came before.