Fireworks have marked celebrations for centuries.  First there’s the zoom of them shooting into the air, the brilliant explosion of light and color, and then the big BOOM as the sound catches up. 

A fireworks display always reminds me of that line in the National Anthem: “and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air…”  It reminds me that on the other side of the world, there are folks who may be viewing fireworks that aren’t pretty or exciting, but a matter of life and death. 

Throughout the history of our country, men and women have voluntarily put their lives on the line in the fight for freedom.  Their families, too, have paid the price for independence, for unity, for democracy. 

The national anthem was written by Frances Scott Key, who was detained by the British during the war of 1812.  As they attacked Fort McHenry, he sought a glimpse of their emblem of freedom, the American flag.  After witnessing the battle throughout the night, he and his companions knew that if the flag was still flying, their cause still lived, and freedom would go on. 

The actual song Key wrote has several verses.  The last verse talks about living in appreciation of the victory and peace that comes at the end of the war justly fought, in praise of the One that preserves our country, and flying the flag in celebration of that freedom:

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
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!

I love fireworks and picnics.  However, I am taking a moment today to remember brave men who declared themselves an independent country on this date, 233 years go, and all the men and women since who have fought to preserve it.  To freedom!



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