An 11-year-old was arrested in Florida for being disruptive and not following school rules. This story made national news because the boy didn’t want to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, although the school makes it a requirement. This child had no right to act out in the manner he chose. However, we should not pretend America’s iconic symbols played no role in this disturbing incident.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked one of the nation’s most heated debates by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. This nation has a bad habit of misinterpreting some of its most iconic symbols. I am tired of seeing walls built instead of bridges. In order to see America for what it is, we need to differentiate between the creator and their creation.
Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” was a man who wanted slavery to exist in America. The third verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner” reflects his views.
“No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave and the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Key wrote.
Key was referring to the black Americans who were fighting with the British in 1814. Those black Americans did this in hopes of earning their freedom.
“His (Key) message to the black fighting for freedom was unmistakable — we will hunt you down and the search will leave you in terror because, when we find you, your next stop is the gloom of the grave,” Jeffery Robinson, author of “Do you know the Star-Spangled Banner’s third verse,” wrote.
America has a history of hating those who stand against it for its wrongdoings. People suggesting Kaepernick should leave this country because of his protest is no surprise. It’s hard to end a habit that has been practiced for centuries.
Although this part of the anthem is terrible, rarely does this verse see the light of day. It is sad Key nearly tarnished his amazing first verse with his awful views. Still, the first verse of the Star-Spangled Banner symbolizes hope for all Americans.
Throughout black history, there were no rockets with red glares, but there was screams of pain and agony. There are no bombs bursting in the air, but there was burning crosses and nooses that hung black people there. The attack the Star-Spangled Banner references lasted for 25 hours, but black people’s pain and misery has lasted for centuries. Despite the odds, black people and the flag are still here.
The flag represents this country, whose constitution states, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” Our country may not be where it is today without this statement. Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Constitution, yet there is no way he truly believed this. Anyone who owned slaves did not believe all men were created equal. Those people are most of our founding fathers.
It hurts to know most of the iconic Americans I hear about in history class did not want black people like me to exist. Despite their efforts, people like Key and our founding fathers created an ideal for Americans to fight for, even if their creators stood against it.
In the Bible, Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” This is one of the reasons why America’s most used currency, the dollar bill says “In God we trust.”
I stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem because I refuse to let racist idiots think I do not belong here. Although I do not agree with the 11-year-old boy and his form of protest, I fully support the right to protest. They should not have to leave this country because they don’t like some of the things that happen here. They should be commended for trying to make this country better.
Donald Fountain is a 21-year-old mass communication sophomore from Saint Francisville, Louisiana.