Good morning to everyone. Happy 4th of July. I want to share with all of you my readers who I am. I am an AMERICAN. Growing up in Chicago, I was raised by my mother and grandparents. Both of my parents were American born as was my grandparents. Growing up, there were hints of our Polish heritage here and there, but when asked the question..."What nationality are you"? the answer was always the same..."AMERICAN". I was raised as an AMERICAN. I may have a Polish heritage attached, but I am an AMERICAN through and through. When I met my husband, he asked what nationality I was...when I answered that I was an American...he said "NO, not where you live...but who you are." My answer was the same. "I AM AN AMERICAN" That was hard for my husband at that time to understand, being that he was born in a camp in Germany during WWII. His parents, who were both from Poland, had been captured and placed into a work camp. They met there, were married there and my husband was born there. When they were sponsored to come to America, their first home was Kentucky and then Chicago, Illinois. They lived in America...followed the rules, became citizens...but yet they were different than my family. They clung to their heritage...more than likely because it had been stripped away from them. As for me...I had always known the FREEDOM of this country. I was proud to be an AMERICAN. Now, don't get me wrong, they were proud of this country, but Poland was their home in their hearts. I think my husband felt that way because of his parents.
As a storyteller, I tell many stories of war. I have programs that cover the Civil War, Camp Douglas, Vietnam, WWII and more. I even cover the Revolutionary War, which is not a common program in this part of the country. I love the little details that are there for the taking if we just take the time to find them. This is my take or my story that I had heard.
As for the background of the Star Spangled Banner, there was a man, a lawyer by the name of Francis Off Keys , author of our national anthem. He was a lawyer chosen to bargain for trade of the captured prisoners during the Revolutionary War. They were held as prisoners on a ship. The admiral he struck up the deal with told him that it really didn't matter, because in the matter of a few hours the British would take over Fort McHenry and the war would be over. Every man and gun and all gun powder was ready to destroy the Fort if we didn't lower our American Flag.
Francis watched the war in action as the bombing began at twilight, all through the night and ended at dawn. All the while...he supposedly answered the prisoners of where the flag was and what was going on.
So, today, on July 4th, I share what I have heard and pray as those men prayed for that flag to remain standing.
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE, BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT......(that was the question posed to Francis) WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAIL AT THE TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING. (That flag....did it make it? Is it still standing?) WHOSE BROAD STRIPES AND BRIGHT STARS , THOUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT, WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING. (Oh the 13 stripes and stars that stood for the colonies that wanted their freedom from the British).O'ER THE RAMPARTS WE WATCHED, WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING (the ramparts...the flag stand or pole...there was our flag, still standing up....leaning at an odd angle, but still not touching the ground) WITH THE ROCKETS RED GLARE, THE BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR (This tells us the way that the sky lit up as the bombs and gun fires blasted across the waters to that fort and all those who were in it). GAVE PROOF THROUGH THE NIGHT...THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILLTHERE...(Our flag had made it through the night! The pieces of the flag were in shreds, the pole had been hit numerous times, and men grabbed the rampart and held it up. When those men were killed, another group took over and kept that flag up...amongst the dead below them...giving anchor to the flag.) OH SAY DOES THAT STAR SPANGLED BANNER YET WAVE (A final answer to the prisoners who prayed for that flag to stand) O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE(That was what had happened...the patriots had won). AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE (that is the men who died to hold that flag up and the men that fought to hold up that flag. Brave, indeed).
I don't know about you, but for me, I have a much greater appreciation of that song. It now resonates in m heart greater than ever before. Those colors of red white and blue represents freedom. Stand and give it honor. Think about those words as you sing that song. Allow that imagery to ring through you of how it was fought for and gave us the freedom we so desperately wanted. We declared the independence and won it. I don't know about you, but my Banner will wave today, for my country, for those who have fought, lived and those who have died, for those who still fight, and for me. For me....because I am an AMERICAN!