by Andy Weddington
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Then conquer we must, when our cause 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!
Francis Scott Key
The above is the last four lines of the fourth and closing stanza of the poem 'Defense of Fort McHenry' written in 1814.
As history goes, the poem was married with John Stafford Smith's tune 'The Anacreontic Song' and retitled to the familiar 'The Star Spangled Banner.'
By proclamation of Congress in 1931, it became the National Anthem of our United States.
The history of our national colors, our flag - the star-spangled banner, another story.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing 14 June as Flag Day.
Math for Marines - that's 100 years ago.
Less than five months beyond the 100 years anniversary of Flag Day America elected a new President.
How ironic President-elect Donald J. Trump was born one Flag Day (1946).
By God's grand design?
I've been paying close attention - "seeing," that is - since the election.
Noted are the unhappy.
Some civil. Some not.
To the civil, the civil pay attention.
No time for the not - obstructing society's goings-on to the point of infringing on others; destroying public and private property; assaulting innocents; etc., is not protesting. It is rioting. And worse. Arrest them!
Noted, too, are the happy.
In victory, they are not disruptive and violent.
What I have noticed is more flags.
And sensed a change of tone in the air. It is not something easily put into words but it's real.
The flags, the tone - coming from Don's early light?
And "seeing" that complement has inspired me to paint - our flag.
Three large paintings the past week. More to come.
Because to me, and many, what our flag has endured recently is akin to what inspired Francis Scott Key to pen his poem.
Our flag is still there!
The eloquence of Key's pen I translate with brush.
The Flag Paintings ...
'Grand Old Flag'
acrylic on canvas - 47 x 49 in.
acrylic on canvas - 40 x 40 in.
acrylic on canvas - 26 x 34 in.
And so to close with the opening four lines of the first stanza ...
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O're the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
Freedom - costly in sacrifice, blood, and life - is a wonderful thing.
Crowds it draws.
Respect our flag.
Forever may she wave!