O Say Can You See

By Donald Gates

July 4, 2020

On this Fourth of July the so called “Counter Culture” or “Cancel Culture” is wanting to abolish police departments, tear down statures and monuments, change the American flag and, now, change the American Anthem to John Lennon’s song Imagine. Enough is Enough!

Those old Stars and Strips are beautiful, and I love that old Anthem-it stirs deep emotions in me each time it is played. When that last stanza, “over the land of the free and the home of the brave”, reaches it’s crescendo-Wow. Any red-blooded American has to be moved!

Allow me to share with you a moment in my life when I was thus moved as our Flag was flown, and our Anthem was played so beautifully. During the last months of 1956, my tour of duty in the Army was winding down. My Company Commander nominated me to represent the Company in the Soldier of the Month competition. I was surprised and honored when it was announced that I had won. An award ceremony was held on the parade ground of Fort Sam Houston. I was awarded a citation and an ID bracelet by the Commanding General of the Fort and a Korean War hero was awarded a medal. As shown in the newspaper clipping below, we stood in front of the Flag as the band played the National Anthem and the parade began.

It is impossible for me to describe the patriotic pride I was experiencing at that time. The band was playing martial music, the Flag was flying, and I was standing next to a hero. My heart was bursting with pride! I hope each of you have had experiences that have made you proud to be an American. And now there are those in this great country who want to take our Flag away and change the National Anthem. Never!

At this point, I took a break in writing this document in order to see a TV program scheduled to begin a 6pm. The ABC channel in Shreveport had organized a patriotic program called Freedom Fest that included eight sites around the ArkLaTex area. The program included patriotic and religious music and interviews, culminating at 9:30 in a fireworks display from each area broadcasted simultaneously on eight sections of the TV screen. The interviews were with people of all races, religions, and nationalities. The pride these groups expressed in being citizens of this great country was inspiring. It was a tremendous Fourth of July Celebration.

As I watched this program and listened to comments of the people interviewed, my confidence that we can overcome the conflict we are experiencing now in our country was enhanced. We have always been able to come together as a nation to overcome adversity, including wars and national disasters. I want to continue to see Old Glory wave and feel that tremendous pride when the National Anthem reaches it’s crescendo with …and the home of the brave!

God Bless America!

PHOTO: I am pictured on the right