The Original Star Spangled Banner

Oh say can you see.....

part of: Metacognition

by Teresa Dunyati-Long

We are coming through an identity crisis,

We the People

Right now. We have to decide who we are going to be, now that we are growing up
As a Nation among sovereign Nations
On Planet Earth, blue among the stars, our jewel, our home, our ship
In the vast ocean that is the Universe.
A sobering thought in sobering times.
But there is indeed hope.
We have avoided fragmentation. We can see other societies on Earth have been unfortunate enough to fragment and turn in on themselves. Our past two elections give evidence that we are choosing a different path, the path of unity, hope, and courage.
So, if we want those things, how can we obtain them?

Maybe we need a new frame for our role here on Earth at this time, a frame that includes all our living companions. I choose the frame of the Gettysburg Address, updated to these current times and offer it as a suggestion for this month’s metacognition:

Four million years ago our forebears brought forth on this planet a new species with no conceptions
who somehow learned to conceive thoughts, tools, emotions, languages, histories, music, art, libraries, mathematics, philosophies, cities, farms, technology, and many forms of knowing and evaluating that could be passed on to subsequent generations. After having conceived many things, they conceived at last of liberty, and a dedication to the proposition that all lives are created equal. These ideals became the focus of the passion of many generations. At last these ideals were made real in the form of a nation among other nations on Earth, blue among the Stars. Now we are engaged in a great testing to see whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can endure the ages. We are met on a great battlefield of ideas, for we have become creatures of our forbear’s Minds as much as of Nature.

In the old days before such tests, the sincere would spend time in personal reckoning. Are We the People brave enough for such a reckoning? Our national anthem asks that very question:

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilight’s last gleaming – those broad stripes and bright stars
Through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watched
Were so gallantly gleaming
In the rocket’s red glare?
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our Flag was still there.

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’re the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

It is time to gather, to remember who We the People are, to remember those who gave their lives that this nation might be born and continue – not just some of those People, but All of Them. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. Let us each repeat the names of everyone we know of who have stood for liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happy encounter with Life in all its forms, those who upheld these ideals when it was easy and when it was not. To consecrate…to hallow any of our own actions we must first acknowledge the brave ones, living and dead, who struggled. They have consecrated our Life far above our poor power to add or detract. The world little notes nor long remembers what one or one or another one of them had to say or do, but it will never forget what all of them did together. So, it is for us, the living to dedicate ourselves here to the unfinished work of those who struggled before, that we may join in the advancement of the cause of Us All. Then with clear minds and solid hearts we can dedicate ourselves to the great tasks before us in this generation, give a full measure of devotion, resolve that no life shall be in vain, and that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this Earth.