A History Repeated

A History Repeated
Easter 24

The sky filled with smoke as sirens wailed and children cried. Faintly a voice was heard asking: “Oh, say, you there; can you see by the dawn’s early light what we proudly called home at the twilight of yesterday? The proud city of the battered neighborhoods which bear the ravages of poverty and time though they still stand and fight the elements gleaming; the glorious broad stripes and stars waving despite all, watches as anger turns to destruction streaming. Does anyone remember we are the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, where unwanted visitors stood plotting mayhem and chaos, came a breeze, over the towering steep, catching the morning’s first beam, reflected in the stream, the flag of Fort McHenry which bore such promise to Francis Scott Keys: “‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave; O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

And where are those who so vauntingly swore that the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion should leave nothing of value anymore? Patriotism and belief will wash out their foul footsteps’ pollution! Oh thus be it ever, though perfect we are not; men should and can stand for democracy and peaceful assembly rather than hatred desolation. My heart cries for the residents of a beautiful city, Baltimore, Maryland.

No man should ever die in police custody. No demonstration should ever become a riot. No one person should ever use the death of another as an excuse for violence. Quoting again Francis Scott Keys: “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!”

In case you do not know, violent riots erupted Monday evening in Baltimore, Maryland. Despite appeals from the family of a man who died while in police custody, his memory and funeral were overshadowed by heinous acts of vandalism and destruction. These acts are not a fitting memorial for this man. They are, again, the acts of greedy gangs and cults intent upon perpetrating criminal acts. There is no quest for civil liberties when hardworking people see their livelihoods destroyed and children are terrorized.

Equally dangerous, though, are the cries of despondency and propaganda. The lines quoted above are from the national anthem of the United States of America. No American can claim to be American, a true patriot and sing the national anthem “in God is our trust” and speak of such despair. Certainly, the USA is not a perfect nation and there are grave disparities which need correcting. Criminal mischief is not the answer nor is political negativity.

There is no one nation on this planet that is perfect. The recent events in Nepal and surrounding areas are proof that we do not need to create havoc; it will naturally occur. We need to live our creeds of faith and beliefs. We need to withstand the rhetoric that serves no purpose and trust – in our spirituality, in ourselves, and in our neighbors. The greatest enemy we have is ourselves. The greatest hope we have is our belief in tomorrow.

He stood on the bow of the enemy’s ship and watched his city under siege. On the evening of September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Keys penned his words more as a prayer than a journal entry, wondering which flag he would see in the morning light. Amid the” rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting through air”, the dawn’s light revealed an American flag flying over Fort McHenry which sits on the edge of the City of Baltimore. As long as there are Americans who believe, the flag will still be there tomorrow, “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

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