On our feet, we stood there with thousands of others, they too… with their hats off.

The arena stood still as the voices of many echoed off the hearts of those in attendance. No matter the quality of voice, the words of this anthem rang out like a shot in the dark proclaiming a conviction of something all too right.

I have heard this song probably a thousand times or more in my life and nothing stirs my heart more than hearing the echoing voices singing her words in one accord.

I remember the first time this national hallowed moment was interrupted. It was at a hockey game between our local Portland team and the Victoria Cougars. As the teams stood face to face, we had finished standing and respecting our visitors National Anthem.

At about 3/4 of the way through our National Anthem… the team from Victoria broke rank and began to skate.

It was the first time I remember thinking… “Not in my house!”

I was just a kid, but at that moment, I joined my father in a chorus of boos in disgust of the visiting teams show of disrespect. Quite frankly, that may have been the first time I joined my father in being quite vocal at a sporting event.

If there ever was a reason to do so… this was it.

However, something sad has happened over time. As I attend these events, I realize something quite tragic…

We’ve lost the echo.

As the National Anthem at times has now become a performance or spectacle, I no longer hear the voices of many in a chorus of words coming from a place deep within the heart.

Gone are the removing of hats, the hands on the heart, and the ability to even know the words that make up this National treasure.

But, fret not. There is a wave beginning to pass over this great land. I hear it coming, do you?

Recently, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to attend a major league baseball game in the heartland of our Nation. Standing there in the midst of 41,000 fans and a group of friends, which included LTG. William Boykin, I heard something that felt so right.

I heard the echo.

It was not an echo only carefully guided by the hands of particular political parties or affiliations. Nor was it an echo so loud, that it drowned out the sounds of our Higher calling.

But, it was an echo that sounded as if it were joining the chorus of a thousand voices that stretched back to our Founding Fathers as they answered that Higher call.

If you listened closely, I am sure you would hear their voices, too.

Though written post our founding documents being signed, I am certain the voices of every last signer could be heard. That is… if we listen closely…

O! 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.

Do you hear them? Do you even hear your voice?

I recently watched an interview on TV about our National Anthem. Of course, some of the facts about the anthem was that it was written by Francis Scott Key as a poem after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. (* source – Wikipedia)

However, one thing I discovered in this interview, was something that never seemed to hit my radar. It is found in the last line of the verse we sing…

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It’s a question.

In this, I have re-found my own echo. I have re-found my own conviction.

And now, as is the case for every generation. We must rise up and ponder…

How will my generation answer this question? How will the generation we are raising… answer this question.

In this, let your echo be heard…

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

YES…. YES she does!