Somewhere between drinking WAY more than one should and trying to NOT get our bits blown off by an errant illegal firework, let us take a moment to reflect upon America.

Or, in the very least, upon the American National Anthem.

Outside of sporting events there aren't really many opportunities to raise one's American voice in unison with the national anthem. We tend to avoid it for reasons that the tune WAS a British drinking song* and only a drunkard would think an octave and a half is a GREAT range to attempt. Give us your "America the Beautifuls or "My Country 'Tis of Thee". ANYTHING but "The Star Spangled Banner".

It isn't even that bad-ass of an anthem. I mean, the French have their bloody banners raised, the Italians take comfort than their blood will give the Austrian eagles agita. But Americans?

Oh! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Notice anything strange about it?

Written in 1814, not only had we been 'America: The Nation' for a mere 25 years**, but we were ALSO in the middle of a little brouhaha I like to call The War of 1812.

Now, you'd THINK Britain was too busy at that time at keeping Old Boney*** from invading, but they decided they were at their best when multitasking, and caused some shit, which got our American gander all up, which led to a little war where we got our asses SOUNDLY handed to us. I mean, end of the day we "won"****, but wow, for a home court advantage did WE have egg on our faces!

Which takes us to September 3, 1814, and a chap named Francis Scott Key. See, Key was on a diplomatic mission to facilitate a prisoner exchange off the shore of Baltimore. Except, they sorta-kinda overheard the details of the impeding British attack on Baltimore/Fort McHenry, so JUST to make sure they wouldn't go blabbing their months to the nearest American HQ, the British held him and his companions captive, at least until the battle was over.

Key spent the night watching the British bomb of Fort McHenry, and witnessed the American victory the next morning, and the Ameican flag still flying over the still American-held fort.

Other countries may celebrate the ass they intent go and kick, but every time we sing the National Anthem, we are celebrating just HAVING a country. Between the CRUSHING debt we suffered at the end of the American Revolution, the Shay and Whiskey Rebellions, the issues of States' Rights vs. Federal Power, the fact that we didn't collapse under the weight of our own size and pig-headed NEED for Independence (which is NOT the same thing as a Free-For-All, which I think people forget) is a MIRACLE.

234 years after the fact, I think we all need a reminder that--Holy Shit--We're a COUNTRY. And we're still around!

Our National Anthem ends, not on a defiant note, but with an inquiry. Is our flag still there? Are we still a country? We didn't fall in the night—did we?

This 4th of July, raise your glass and blow up some fireworks (in a safe way, MIGHT I ADD!) to the fact we ARE still the United States of America—and don't take for granted that it might not always be that way.

Is the flag still there? Will it be? I sure hope 234 years from now, it is.






FOOTNOTES:
*I declare it counts as a drinking song, though others may protest (mayhaps even TOO much). I leave you this link so you can decide for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacreontic_Song
** Approximately. Dudes, I'm writing this at a 4th of July party I'm hosting, I don't have time for fact checking, damnit!
***Bonaparte, for those of you who aren't obsessive readers of Patrick O'Brien's Maturin/Aubrey series. Like me.
****Like any noobs trying to make it look like they came out of something better than they did, for a long while Americans claimed they had won this one. Meanwhile the British acted like it was no biggie and the Canadians quietly (yet proudly) preened about kicking off America's attempts at expansion into Canada. Now-a-days many Americans don't even KNOW about this war*, while scholars are torn between whether it was an American victory, a British victory, a Canadian victory, or a big old draw. And many others, unfortunately, just don't give a shit.

*Seriously I once played a game of Trivia Pursuit where the opposing team was giving the "Who fought the War of 1812?" question....and decided it was the British and the French.
Right period I suppose, but WRONG WAR. *HEAD DESK!*
Laurapalooza!: a con for all things Laura Ingalls Wilder

Good God. I want to go SO BAD. Like many girls before me--and I'm sure like many girls that will come—the Little House on the Prairie books were some of the greatest loves of my life. I read those to bits—I even had doubles of the books, so that my older, complete set might be spared the worst of the abuse.

Growing up, I wanted to be just like Laura—as a wee!Nella*, whenever my dad (which I used to think of as Pa, as he had a beard too!) needed help with anything, I'd jump to do so, just like Laura would have! And if it required heavy lifting, and my dad praised me after wards for my strength, you can bet your ass that in my mind I was thinking "STRONG LIKE A LITTLE FRENCH PONY!"

And you know, sometimes there are things I still do just because it's what Laura would have done. So yes, consider me keen on the idea of talking Little Halfpint with others.

...Now I wish I had those books on me…methinks this calls for a review of some sort in the future...hrum...


*and not a middling!Nella, when puberty hit and took away anything decent about me, until I clawed my way back out of adolescent douchery
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