'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag,
When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag.
~Sir Edward B. Hamley, 1824-1893
Our National Anthem has sometimes been critisized and maligned - too war-focused, too difficult to sing, not poetic enough, not beautiful enough - but I love it. I used to perform it at the beginning of hockey and basketball games in high school (as did MamaM and MamaD) but it's been only recently that I've been able to truly appreciate its meaning and import. Because I realized that, in the song, the flag is a symbol of the spirit of the American people; a tribute to their drive and endurance. Despite the odds, that flag was still waving after a horrific night of bombardment. When I ponder on those words I am encouraged and inspired to endure my own dark times of trial and adversity. I've been to see Old Glory - that flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott to pen those famous words - and I've been touched and humbled by its threadbare, ragged dignity. I'm reminded that survival, freedom, and victory don't usually come all touched-up and pretty. That I, too, will have wounds from the battles I fight, but that I, too, will still be there in the morning, battered but proud.