There are days when I’m proud of America. I almost always tear up when anyone sings “The Star-Spangled Banner,” mostly because I love the line, “oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
If you were confused about why that question mark was at the end there, look again. It’s a question. Francis Scott Key wanted to know if the flag that represented everything that the revolutionaries were fighting for still flew. He wanted to know if the Americans or the British were victorious in the Battle of Baltimore. He wanted to know if his freedom would be preserved. (Read the story behind the anthem here)
The flag still waves, but I’m not sure if it’s over the land of the free and the home of the brave, Francis. I’m not sure if our nation looks like the one we revolted for. I think freedom and courage are misunderstood concepts. We seem to say that getting what we want and having fewer restrictions is real freedom. I don’t know about that. I’m also pretty sure that it takes more courage to stand against the crowd than to march with the masses.
Sometimes, Francis, I despair. I want God to bless America, the land that I love. I want our leaders to lead selflessly, to put peace first and prosperity lower on the list. I want them to accurately represent their constituents and to have a balanced distribution of power. I want money to be just another resource, not the force that drives everything we do.
Francis, sometimes it’s hard to be proud of America. But there are Americans that I am darn proud of. Women like Dawn who put God’s call to set the captives free above their own comfort and preferences. I’m proud of my pastor for speaking truth even though it goes against the grain sometimes. I’m proud of people who think before they act and make decisions based on facts rather than popular opinion. I’m proud of educators who aren’t in it just for a job. I’m proud of people who sacrifice excess and your typical definition of success for meaning and purpose.
The flag still waves, over a land where some are free and some are brave.
Even a minority is enough for now. My prayer for America today is that we will actually live for truth and justice, making that the American way.