A flag flying at half mast is a very common site in America today. While we are not technically at war between our shores, with each shooting or bombing, the loss of life proves we are far from peace.
The flag you see to the right flew at half mast during April’s Kansas Relays following the bombing at the finish of the Boston Marathon that senselessly killed and maimed. The flag waves on a beautiful hill between the University of Kansas’ Memorial Stadium and the Campanile.
Many flags will wave this Memorial Day weekend. Created to honor those that gave their lives in military service, the national holiday, during the 20th century, grew to encompass general memorials for departed loved ones. The lines that separate those in uniform that have given their lives in the continuing fight for freedom and those out of uniform that have given their lives in our enemy’s continuing fight to destroy our freedom are sadly blurred.
As much as these deaths in and out of uniform wear heavily on us, a look at the photograph below gives hope that our enemies cannot win. These are young KU graduates on May 19th proudly waving the American Flag as they entered Memorial Stadium to receive their diplomas.
Francis Scott Key in 1814 penned three more verses to the Star Spangled Banner, whose first verse became our national anthem. Read now the final verse. It speaks to the eternal hope still symbolized by our wonderful flag – whether flying at half mast or waved by those ready to pick up that flag in the continuing fight for freedom.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!