By Gwen Cornwell
Remember When 

Call and Response


October 4, 2017

What a hornet’s nest has been stirred by the column submitted by Mary Honrud ["The Brouhaha," Sept. 27]. Sorry Jim that you could not find anyone that was willing to pen a note representing the “other side of the question” as this has proven to be quite a read on social media. I will admit that I was rather taken aback when I read the article and promptly decided it was my duty to respond, although I am sure there are others much more qualified than I.

I hate trying to do research on any given controversial subject. I have even resorted to Snopes and find that most of the “facts” or otherwise, are a lot like reading the Bible. It is a matter of interpretation. The easy part was pursuing the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner. Mary is right, there are more stanzas to our national anthem than most any of us are aware of. The third stanza seems to most upsetting. Again, interpretation. Consider the times when these verses or stanzas were written. I also found that there is a 5th stanza that gains little or no attention. This was written many years after the original song by Oliver Wendell Holmes. This stanza seems to refer to the emancipation of enslaved people with the words “The millions unchained who our birthrights have gained.” This was written long after Francis Scott Key wrote the original and appears to be about the foe within.

I will now jump back to Francis Scott Key, who was “privileged” as well as a slave holder and on to the tune of the song, which was written by a rowdy member of the Anacreon Society. Horrors! How can we have a national anthem written by such people? Once again, consider the era when this things transpired. Would one suggest we rewrite our national anthem every 50 years maybe so it could be more in keeping with the times and more acceptable to those that do not know or remember the history of our great nation?

I am willing to accept the statement that service members do not swear their oath of office to the flag, but rather the constitution, but this is where I get a little confused. The FLAG represents the USA so where is the line drawn between what the Constitution stands for and what the Flag stands for.

I did some research on Google and found a lot of references to the United States Code, the Code of Laws of the United States of America, or The United States Code, is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States. Title 4 of the United States Code outlines the role of the flag of the United States. While this is a rather boring read, it definitely refers to the conduct of persons in the presence of the flag, and I have taken the liberty to copy and paste Section 9 of Title 4 regarding conduct during hoisting, lowering, or passing of the flag:

"During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes."

Now we have grade school children refusing to respect their Flag. Where does it end? Give us an inch and we want a mile. I am just a small town senior citizen and definitely not world traveled, but I do believe the USA is second to none. Our nation has become what it is by the sacrifice of many men and women of all races. There will always be discrimination. For those that think otherwise just take a look around most any community you live in or close to. There have always been the movers and shakers, those that have, and those that have not, those that will only get a mild slap on the hand for a transgression, and those that will receive harsh discipline for the same transaction. Life will never be entirely fair, a fact most of us learned at a young age. This is not something that past, present, or future presidents are going to be able to change. I look around our USA and see so many people of different races whom have done very well in life. How did they overcome racial discrimination? My guess would be determination, discipline, and motivation.

And what is racial discrimination? “White,” “cracker,” “haole,” or whatever name other races have decided to call white people must surely be discriminatory or derogatory also.

Back to the Flag. Maybe we should petition for a change in the US code of flag etiquette. We could all kneel. That could be a sign of faith and worship. Our thankfulness to live in our Country. Or maybe as indications of weakness, as we could be knocked to the ground easier, or laziness, as it is too much effort to stand.

I think that I have said enough. Yes, I will always stand for our national anthem and be proud of what our flag stands for.


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