With all of the controversy surrounding the NFL, the National Anthem, and Old Glory, I just wanted to share a few thoughts why I, personally, choose to stand.
… because our flag, Old Glory, is the symbol of the United States of America, the land I love and the nation of which I am proud to be a citizen. To do otherwise, for me, would be to not only disrespect our nation, but to dishonor God by showing a lack of appreciation for His good and perfect gifts that He has afforded me because I am an American.
I stand… when The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, plays because that is a show of respect for the flag that it so eloquently describes, and a show of unity with my fellow citizens. Even when we may disagree about sports, politics, religion, etc., when the words “O say can you see…” are heard, we become silent and unified in our mutual respect for the flag, the anthem, and all that it symbolizes.
I stand… because of fifty-six men from all walks of life who, in putting their signatures on a parchment known as The Declaration of Independence, knew they were putting their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line in the name of freedom. These men were as flawed and imperfect as the rest of us, but found the courage to stand for an ideal greater than themselves.
I stand… because I want to be an example to future generations that we are more than a collection of individuals, each going their own direction.
I stand… because from the streets of Lexington and Concord to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, for over 240 years, brave men and women have given their last full measure of devotion to secure the freedom the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis. I stand, saluting an unfurled flag because of all of the wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, and family members who have been handed a folded one.
I stand… because standing is a universal sign of honor and respect.
I stand… because I believe that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and that we can accomplish more through the power of prayer than through hollow protests.
I stand… because we are better when we operate in unity, as “one nation under God, indivisible…” As a Christian, I believe the truth expressed by the psalmist who said,
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1
I stand… because our flag and national anthem symbolize what is right with our country, not what is wrong with it.
I stand… because there are other countries where people are poor and oppressed beyond measure, and are looking to America to be an example — The shining city on a hill.
I stand… because I am the recipient of a grace that has been granted to me in the form of a life in a free country called America.
I stand… not because we are perfect and have it all together, but as a sign that I am willing to take my place — standing beside you — working together to make America a better place.
I stand… to show that I am up on my feet and ready to go; to be a part of the solution, not a symptom of the problem.
I stand… because I am grateful.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
~ Katharine Lee Bates