Saturday, May 28, 2011

"That Our Flag Was Still There"

Probably the approach of Memorial Day got me thinking of some words of "The Star Spangled Banner." In fact, I looked up some of the details of that battle which inspired the words to the song.

The British had taken Washington D.C., burned the White House, and destroyed other government buildings. The President and government were on the run for a while. Then the British took Alexandria without a scuffle as the defenders ran off. They sacked Alexandria, and moved to take Baltimore and its port. But first, there was Fort McHenry in their way. Then for twenty-five hours, the British Navy bombarded the fort with 1500-1800 cannonballs. This bombardment was what inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the text to the song. Through the night he could see the flag still standing only by the light of the artillery assault. The fort held. The men held. The British sailed away. The tattered flag was replaced by another one - an oversized one.

What made these men stand against the momentum of defeat? I submit that the fabric of this young nation was woven under fire. And, I submit that the fabric of our own lives are woven under fire, as well. Perhaps, our own characters have been shaped and molded by what we have endured, and what we have stood for, and what we have stood against. Perhaps, endurance sports is sort off our own personal battle without bombs, wherein we place ourselves under fire, maybe only to see, and be reaffirmed "that our flag is still there."