The 4th of July 2021!

“Oh say can you see…”

As an EMERGING MAN myself, I’m still “new to the game” of “manliness” and the online/social media presence it takes to be seen and noticed… as a player. As a rookie I’m still working on my “moves” and developing my voice.

“By the dawns early light…”

2021 started out pretty dark for me. A time of testing. I won’t know if I passed until next January.

“What so proudly we hailed…”

The latest talk I had with a young man, was with my youngest son, who has just graduated college… the discussion… “Nationalism vs. Patriotism”. My point was… “I love what our flag stands for, as ideals, for anyone who wishes to try and live up to those ideals.”

His input… “Patriotism can put you on a slippery slope toward embracing Nationalism.”

If you don’t know the definitions of each look em’ up.

“at the twilight’s last gleaming,…”

The last I checked, as far as a “grand experiment,” our little idea of a country, so perfectly captured by President Lincoln, so long ago, still stands today… as a beacon to so many.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863
(Gettysburg Address)

“Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,…”

Old Glory… The Stars and Stripes… The Star Spangled Banner… she’s been in more than a few perilous fights.

Perilous indeed… from the assault of Fort McHenry, to Gettysburg, to the Oise-Aisne Campaign of 1918… to Pearl Harbor… and very notably on June 6th, 1944 at Normandy… through the perilous fight of an amphibious landing at Inchon… to the muddied waters and ideals swirling around the Mekong Delta… to helping out Kuwait… to Baghdad… Kandahar… perilous for sure, as witnessed to it’s being draped over each serviceman’s coffin when returning home.

“O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?…”

Today… we watch… not over an embattled rampart… but over a Weber grill, chock full of Kingsford charcoal… giving off a few heated embers that are quickly extinguished by a gentle North, West, East, or Southern July breeze.

“And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;…”

Even now, a couple days early, an overzealous neighbor is launching bombs down the street, using a large firework round called a “REPORT!” It gives off a large white burst, with a very large & loud BOOM! that shakes the windows.

Sitting on our porches, maybe, just maybe… contemplating what it must have been like, straining through the darkness and smoke to try and see if OUR flag was still there.

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Oh she waves alright… but to rudeness, to selfishness, to those who thinks she’s too old, too set in her ways, who thinks she represents racism, inequality, suppression… no, she doesn’t wave, but being a lady she does acknowledge those who are wayward in their thinking with a graceful tip of the cap.

As far as being over the “land of the free”… that’s not promised.

After all… it is just an experiment.

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