This upcoming July 4th holiday weekend Sunday morning, like every Sunday when I'm in town, I'll attend church. I generally enjoy the service, every Sunday of the year but not on July 4th weekends. This is the one Sunday when the congregation always sings the “Star Spangled Banner.” I really want to sing it, just like I always want to sing at ballgames, but I can't bring myself to do it.
I always stand up, trying to look inconspicuous which one can get away with when there are thousands in the bleachers, but you can't do it at church if you're 6’3; 180 people, including my wife and three daughters, will be staring at me, and I know what they are thinking. “Oh no, 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, it's 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 am a proud Southern American and there is much in our American history I am proud of and wish to herald. I would love to celebrate our July 4th 1776 holiday when the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and issued the 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, 139 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 Southern 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 living in caves and eating rats because of Grant's Union Army bombardment against the innocent civilians of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Lincoln's war against Southern independence made a mockery of the original Declaration of Independence. I also think about the gallant defenders of Charleston, South Carolina, as the federal fleet offshore poured salvo after salvo not just into the former federal tax collection office at Fort Sumter out in the harbor, but also into the city itself killing hundreds of civilians in a three year siege that lasted longer than the German assault on Leningrad.
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 those two Southern defeats. Our original government celebrated in this song, a constitutional republic established by our nation's Southern founding fathers like Jefferson, Washington, and Madison, was sacrificed in Lincoln's unconstitutional aggression. All Americans lost what we claim to celebrate in “The Star Spangled Banner.”
We went into Lincoln's War with two republics. At the South's defeat, both were consumed by a US Empire that continues until this day now in an undeclared war with much of the Moslem world abroad and attempting to steal our wealth and control every aspect of American life at home. I also think of my region, Dixie, for a short while independent and ask “will there come a day, when our country should leave us no more.” A time when Robert E. Lee’s prayed asking the Lord “to hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.”
The song goes on.
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 embarrass my wife and family. I will not sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” nor celebrate the Empire's holiday until the day when this great anthem about freedom and independence is again a true statement about a restored America and a free South, when our leaders trust in God and follow the wise foreign policy advice of George Washington.
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connections as possible. It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.
When we are again a republic and the “land of the free and home of the brave,” as established on July 4th, 1776, I will proudly sing the “Star Spangled Banner.” Until, that day, I will be standing quietly on Sunday morning, until the song is over.
June 24, 2002