Why I Can't Sing "The Star Spangled Banner" in Church This July 4th Holiday Sunday

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Tomorrow
morning, like every Sunday when I'm in town, I'll attend Church.
I generally enjoy the service, each Sunday of the year but not on
July 4th weekends.

This
is the one Sunday, every year that the congregation always sings
the "Star Spangled Banner."

I
want to sing, just like I always want to sing at ball games and
other sports events but I can't bring myself to do it.

I
always stand up, trying to look inconspicuous ,which one can get
away with at a sports event with 2,000 people in the bleachers,
but you can't do it at Church being 6'3". 180 people attend,
more or less and my wife and three daughters will be staring at
me, and I know what they are thinking. "Oh God, will he do
this again this year and embarrass us all."I always say to
myself, "this year, I'll sing the song, after all, its not
a big deal, everyone does it." The song is announced and everyone
including me will stand up. I'll open the hymnal like last year
but no sound will come out.

My
family will stare me down, there will be a few giggles behind me
and my daughters will give me that "you're so weird" look
but I can't help it! Finally, the song will end and I'll quickly
sit down in the pew like last year.

Why
can't I bring myself to celebrate July 4th or sing "The
Star Spangled Banner"? I would love to celebrate our July 4th
1776 holiday when the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania 225 years ago and issued the historic Declaration of
Independence for the original 13 colonies. We all know how it starts.

"When
in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle
them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that
they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

My
problem is another July 4th holiday weekend, 138 years
ago when the fate of an independent Confederate States of America
which had also declared its independence based on the same reasons
as the above document was sealed in the twin Confederate defeats
at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. When I read the words of the song describing
the battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor;

"O'er
the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And
the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air"

I
think of the 10,000 civilians in Vicksburg living in caves and eating
rats because of Grant's Union Army bombardment against the innocent
civilians of Vicksburg, Mississippi.When the congregation sings;

"And
where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war
and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us
no more?"

Here
I think of Pickets Charge up Cemetery Ridge, the cannons and havoc
at Little Round Top, as our forces melt away in the confusion of
battle.

I
can't help but dwell on what America lost in this two Southern defeats.
Our original government celebrated in this song, a limited constitutional
republic established by our nation's founding fathers like Jefferson,
Washington and Madison was sacrificed in Lincoln's unconstitutional
war against the Confederacy. We lost what we claim to celebrate
in "The Star Spangled Banner". Frankly, we went into Lincoln's
War with two republics, the United States and the Confederate States
of America and at the South's defeat, both were lost and consumed
by an American Empire that continues until this day. I also think
of my home Dixie, our occupied country and ask "will there
come a day, when our country should leave us no more."

"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"

No,
this Sunday, I will again, upset and embarrass my wife and family.
I will not sing "The Star Spangled Banner", nor celebrate
Washington's July 4th holiday until the day comes when
this great anthem about freedom and independence is again a true
statement about either a Free America or a Free Dixie.

I
pray for the day when I can live again under a constitutional republic,
where our leaders trust in God and we are again the "land of
the free and home of the brave."

Until,
that day, I am standing quietly this Sunday morning, until the song
is over – wishing it were different!

July
4, 2001

Ron
Holland [send him mail]
is a financial and political writer and investment consultant living
in Asheville, NC. He is the editor of Dixie
Daily News on the web
.

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