In 1814, after the British bombardment failed at Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight of the American Flag still flying in the early morning, that he wrote the poem Defense of Fort McHenry.
Within a week of being published the words were put to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven”, by John Stafford Smith, and became known as The Star Spangled Banner.
In 1889 it was used as the official song of the U.S. Navy. In 1913 President Wilson started to use it as an official song. In 1930 the VFW petitioned to have it made the official National Anthem. In 1931 it became the National Anthem of the U.S. by a congressional resolution signed into law by President Hoover on March 3.
Until then, the U.S. was a country without a national anthem.
For me, love of country is a very real thing, even though our country isn’t perfect. Standing and looking at our flag while singing the national anthem is a time of immense pride that inspires a deep feeling of patriotism. Which is why I feel no respect for American citizens who refuse to stand, honor, and show respect for our flag and our national anthem.
Our country allows organized protest. There are better ways to protest than to disrespect the flag and refuse to sing the national anthem of the country that allows so much freedom of opinion.
In the 1960s, during the height of the Viet Nam war protests, there was a chant used – “Love it or leave it.” I think of that chant when I see highly paid professional athletes and Olympic athletes who are supposedly representing the U.S. be so antagonistic to the very country that has made their dreams possible. If they don’t respect our flag, why stay here?
There seems to be a surge in the number of citizens who would rather denigrate our country than work in a positive way to improve it. Displays of patriotism get mocked. Our freedoms go unappreciated by those who choose violent demonstrations over peaceful protest. Burning, looting, attacks with weapons, and destruction of property is not protest; it’s criminal behavior.
According to the CATO Institute’s Human Freedom Index, which measures 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom, the USA now ranks 15th in the world, tied with Japan.
That’s a sad statistic.
The freedoms measured by the CATO Institute fall into 12 categories. They are Rule of Law; Religion; Security and Safety; Association, Assembly and Civil Society; Size of Government; Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business; Legal System and Property Rights; Expression and Information; Freedom to Trade Internationally; Identity and Relationships; Movement; and Sound Money.
It is the most comprehensive freedom index created, and includes 165 countries.
The rankings of the U.S. in the specific categories varies greatly. We rank 24th in personal freedom. I found that ranking to be the most alarming of all. I’ve always thought of our country as the land of freedom. But there are 23 other countries that offer more personal freedom than we have here.
The categories where the United States scores the lowest are in Rule of Law and Size of Government. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Government at all levels continues to expand its reach and control of our lives, imposing regulations and laws on citizens that government officials are exempted from.
And civil and criminal justice in the U.S. treats average citizens much more harshly than it treats the wealthy and the politicians. Double standards exist in every part of the law.
Our country was founded on the principle of small government. But power grabs of politicians have quickly escalated in the 21st Century. Years of disappointing leadership started with the Patriot Act of the Bush administration in 2001, and have created a steady downfall in the ranking of the U.S. as a best place to live. Weak and divisive leadership has become the standard during the past 22 years.
There is a lot of good in America. A lot more good than evil. Most Americans are not racist, or homophobic, or anti semitic, or harbor feelings of hate. Most Americans are not violent. Most believe in equality for all. And most are fed-up with politicians from both parties and the media who perpetuate divisiveness, ill-will, and the spread of untruths, just for the purpose of high ratings.
If we continue to let the self-serving interests of politicians and the rhetoric of militant protests divide us, instead of finding intelligent, peaceful solutions to the quality of life issues that affect us all, the greatest democracy ever created could disappear during our lifetime.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”Abraham Lincoln
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