The gauntlet has been thrown down. A challenge has been issued and that with defiance. She all but said the words “double dog…” Just now after supper, while on my way upstairs, I shared with Nina my express desire to address her devoted “blaudience” (yes, I’m planning to officially coin the compound contraction composed by joining blog and audience, respectively, so that I can reap the appropriate financial benefits.) Nonetheless, she proceeded to inform me that her previous post could not possibly be bested. If I recall correctly, her exact words were, “You can’t beat potty training blogging.” I, my friends, beg to differ. With eyes closed and one hand behind my back, here goes.
Thursday morning Nina drove to the airport to pick up our co-worker who had gone to a missionary retreat in England, and while she was gone I helped the first graders with some school work. Faith was in the middle of a history lesson that covered things distinctly American – flag, pledge of allegiance, national anthem…that kind of thing. There came a place for her to sing the national anthem, and she wasn’t sure how the tune went. Since she’s never been to public school in the states and didn’t play organized sports I don’t know that she’s ever sung the national anthem. The aforementioned revelation may sound more like an excuse, but it is really an admission, of guilt. I don’t ever remember learning the national anthem, but always remember singing it, even as a child. So, with Faith and Liberty there in my office, a converted kitchen 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean in northern Portugal I began to sing the national anthem of the United States of America. A funny thing happened along the way. I realized, once again, on the 10th of July how great our nation once was – when the majority of Americans both understood the significance of the song and respected those who fought to keep it the land of the free and home of the brave. I made it about halfway through the first verse (there are actually four), “and the rockets red glare…” without any major difficulties, but the more I tried to continue, a veritable geyser of suppressed patriotism welled from my marrow up into my throat and into my eyes. I continued until, “Oh say does that star-spangled banner…” when I could take it no more. Faith peered into my tear-leaking eyes and said, “Daddy are you crying?” Of course, I did what most Dads in this position would do. I said, “You girls go take a break from school.” They immediately hopped up and went outside while I wept lamentations over my beloved home land.
The simple fact is this. We love Portugal and the people here, tremendously, but it is not the United States of America. No nation is or ever will be. That is really enough said. I could go on about how great our nation is or what makes it great or how sicker she gets by the day, but you know all of these things and if you don’t it’s because you don’t want to. But, I’m not going to. Instead I’m simply going to encourage you to do two things. First, cherish the liberties you have. Fight, under the law, to ensure you retain those liberties. Call or email your legislators about important matters. Exercise your right to vote. Simply put – be an American….not a Polish American, Irish American, African American or any other kind of American. Just an American, and secondly, honor those who are fighting or have fought for the freedom you enjoy. Thank them for their service, pray for their safety. Help their families and recognize their sacrifice for your freedom. If you don’t know a veteran, when school begins again, go to your local high school for a football game. When the national anthem ends, look for the grown man with a wet handkerchief. And, just in case you haven’t looked at the words to the Star Spangled Banner in a while, below are the 1st and 4th verses.
O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!