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and The Star Spangled Banner

We are asked to stand as the song is played. Out of courtesy, we do so. While listening to the music we think of what might have been. Sometimes we see the 3rd National Flag of the Confederacy in our mindís eye and know the pride and excitement we would be feeling if that was the flag being honored and the song was Dixie. These are feelings we will never have with this flag and this song. We do not cheer when it is over. We understand that our nation was invaded and defeated on the battlefield by those waving this flag. We will always be Confederates.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?

Our minds imagine Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861. There a people begin the fight for freedom, freedom promised by what this flag is supposed to represent. A fight unwanted by those in Charleston, but one precipitated by the treachery of the President of the United States in sending reinforcements to Fort Sumter. We see this flag flying over Fort Sumter which was, by all rights, the property of the Confederate States of America.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?

We see them streaming at Manassas where they flew above those who invaded our Confederate States of America, our country. The fight was indeed perilous for this flag and it was rightfully sent packing back to Washington. We see it in retreat in the Shenandoah Valley where General Stonewall Jackson out maneuvered, out smarted and out fought the yankees under this banner.

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.

The flag was there at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and Chickamauga. It came with troops to our country at Shiloh. It starved our people at Vicksburg. It was carried by Sherman as he burned homes and fields to starve the women and children of our country who were trying to survive a terrible war.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Yes, it waves. It waves over a land where our flags are increasingly forbidden to be shown in public; where children are expelled from school for wearing a Confederate flag; where universities forbid the presence of the Confederate flag; where streets named for our Southern heroes have those names changed for political correctness; where our ancestors are reviled. We wonder what they fear. Arms were laid down over 130 years ago and yet, they continue an effort to destroy every vestige of our country. We Confederates stand, but we do so with sadness.

© Jack Kean 1998