“O, say can you see…” These words for most Americans spark a firework of patriotism inside them. The National Anthem symbolizes freedom for many. It’s what we sing and stand for at the beginning of ball games to celebrate the freedom we enjoy. It’s an influential part of American culture. But as of late, it has been a symbol of controversy. On the fields of America’s favorite sport, NFL players are kneeling during the Anthem. They do this in protest of racial issues in America. The response to these acts are widespread with disgust. This tension between patriotism and social protest is not new for this country–but it is deep rooted.
In a post 9/11 America, this anthem is as tribute to those that died that day, and for the military personnel who have sacrificed and died in the name of freedom. The wounds haven’t quite healed. A better world depends on this healing–and I question if it ever will. Nevertheless, when the Flag is raised, I put my hand over my heart and sing. I do these things because I have the freedom to do so. I choose to–because I am free. I am free because of brave Americans. Ultimately, those brave souls did not die for glory, merit, or even our respect. They died for our freedom. So, let us remember the freedom not to stand has been paid by the same blood that allows us the freedom to stand and sing, “…and the home of the brave.”
Junior English major