The Star Spangled Banner
(The Defense of Fort McHenry) 
September 20, 1814
By Francis Scott Key

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?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
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.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  NEVER FORGET 9-11-01 

To Those Who Want To Burn the Flag:
Just ask permission.
Does the first Amendment gives us the right to
desecrate the American flag?
Or is the flag a sacred symbol of our nation,
deserving protection by law?
Tough call?

"The Solution"

For those who want to light Old Glory on fire,
stomp all over it, or spit on
it to make some sort of "statement,"
I say let them do it.
But under one condition:
they MUST get permission from three sponsors.

First, you need permission of a war veteran.
Perhaps a Marine who fought at Iwo Jima?

The American flag was raised over Mount Surabachi upon the
bodies of thousands of dead buddies.
Each night spent on Iwo meant half of everyone you
knew would be dead tomorrow, a coin flip away from a
bloody end upon a patch
of sand your mother couldn't find on a map.

Or maybe ask a Vietnam vet who spent years tortured
in a small, filthy cell unfit for a dog.
Or a Korean War soldier who helped rescue half a
nation from Communism, or a Desert Storm warrior who
repulsed a bloody dictator from
raping and pillaging an innocent country.

That flag represented your mother and father,
your sister and brother, your friends, neighbors,
and everyone at home.

I wonder what they would say if someone asked them
permission to burn the American flag?

Next, you need a signature from an immigrant.
Their brothers and sisters may
still languish in their native land, often under tyranny,
poverty and misery. Or maybe they died on the way here,
never to touch our shores. Some have seen
friends and family get tortured and murdered by their
own government for daring to do things
we take for granted every day.

For those who risked everything simply for the chance
to become an American ..what kind of feelings
do they have for the flag when they
Pledge Allegiance the first time?
Go to a naturalization ceremony and see for yourself,
the tears of pride, the thanks,
the love and respect of this nation, as they
finally embrace the American flag as their own.
Ask one of them if it would be OK to tear up the flag.

Last, you should get the signature of a mother.
Not just any mother. You need a mother of someone
who gave their life for America. It doesn't even
have to be from a war. It could be a cop. Or a fireman.
Maybe a Secret Service or NSA agent.
Then again, it could be a common foot soldier as well.
When that son or daughter is laid to rest,
their family is given one gift by
the American people; an American flag. Go on. I dare you.
Ask that mother to spit on her flag.

I wonder what the founding fathers thought of the
American flag as they drafted the Declaration of Independence?
They knew this act would drag young America into war with England,
the greatest power on earth. They also knew failure meant
more than just a disappointment. I meant a noose
snugly stretched around their necks.
But they needed a symbol, something to inspire the new nation.
Something to represent the seriousness, the purpose and conviction
that we held our new idea of individual freedom.
Something worth living for.
Something worth dying for.
I wonder how they'd feel if someone asked them permission
to toss their flag in a mud puddle?

Away from family, away from the precious shores of home,
in the face of overwhelming odds and often in the
face of death, the American flag inspires those who believe
in the American dream, the American promise,
the American vision.

Americans who don't appreciate the flag
don't appreciate this nation.
And those who appreciate this nation appreciate
the American flag. Those who fought, fought for that flag.
Those who died, died for that flag.
And those who love America love that flag.
And defend it.

So if you want to desecrate the American flag,
before you spit on it or before you burn it ..
I have a simple request. Just ask permission.

Not from the Constitution. Not from some obscure law.
Not from the politicians or the pundits.
Instead, ask those who defended our nation so that
we may be free today.
Ask those who struggled to reach our shores
so that they may join us in the American dream.
And ask those who clutch a flag in place of their
sacrificed sons and daughters,
given to this nation so that others may be free.

For we cannot ask permission from those who died
wishing they could, just once..or once again..see,
touch or kiss the flag that stands for our nation,
The United States of America ..
The greatest nation on earth.
Author Unknown