She's been under a lot of attack the past few months. She's not the only one. A song written about her has, after all these years, somehow sparked an angry protest.
Earlier this year, I was privileged to visit the beautiful city of Baltimore and enjoy a water taxi ride to Fort McHenry. This is where a man named Key (always thought there was poetic irony about that name) penned The Star Spangled Banner.
A bit over 200 years ago, a soldier stationed here would have looked out and seen, not this expansive bridge, but a mass of British war ships. They had recently attacked Washington DC, burning the Capitol, the Treasury & the President's house and now they were coming for Baltimore.
"It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone," Key wrote.
The battle was part of the War of 1812. Like all wars, the reasons for it were more complex than we're taught in our school books.
This is the flag room. If I remember right, it's where the soldiers assigned to the flag were quartered. It was a very important job.
This past Sunday, in honor of Veterans Day, recognition of the upcoming Election Day, and kicking off a series on thankfulness, my pastor led the congregation in The Pledge of Allegiance & the singing of The Star Spangled Banner. People stood proudly, some with tears and everyone with hand on heart.
One person remained seated. We don't know their reason, except that it didn't appear to be due to disability. It was their right, but honestly, I don't understand why someone would bring their offense into this particular church, located in a small mid-America community; and this particular service. This pastor is known as a gracious, loving, accepting man. He's not a political ranter.
So after 200 years, why all of a sudden is there all this fuss and why are football players leading a "take a knee" protest? As I said above, like most wars, their reason is complex.
America is not perfect. She's made up of imperfect people who in the course of our short history, have done valiant deeds and also made stupid mistakes. We've just held a horribly ugly & divisive election and people are protesting in the streets tonight.
Yet the flag still waves over these waters. Personally, I am very grateful.