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Old Glory, Long May She Wave!

Flag Day should remind us all of just what the red, white and blue stands for.

Every time I see the Stars and Stripes, I feel so proud to be an American. I am reminded just how lucky I was to be born on earth and in a country that is the most free, the most compassionate and the most generous on the planet.

I have been to over 58 countries and the happiest time for me is always my return home. I crane my neck peering out the window of the plane looking for the first American flag I can see.

After living through the largest terrorist attack to our nation on 9/11/01 from the experience of a member of President Bush's Senior Staff and having lost my nephew Tommy Jurgens, a first responder to the World Trade Center, I was reminded of just how poignant the words to "The Star Spangled Banner" was to that attack and what we stand for as a nation.

When Francis Scott Key wrote the immortal poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" (which later became the words to our National Anthem), he was a 35-year-old aspiring poet. As he watched the Battle of Fort McHenry being bombarded in 1814 by British Ships in Chesapeake Bay in the War of 1812, he took quill to paper and described for history what he saw firsthand.

On 9/11/01 the words of Key were just as true on that day as they were on the day he wrote his ode to America and who we are as a nation and a people.

Remember in the aftermath of the World Trade Center Towers coming down, New York Firemen raised our flag from the flagpole of the destroyed tower as a symbol of our unbroken spirit?

Had Francis Scott Key been a witness to the attacks on New York, on September 11, 2001 he might have written his epic poem this way:

Oh say did we see, by the morn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at first responders' bravery,

Whose broad stripes and bright through the perilous attack, O'er the Towers we watched were so gallantly gleaming!

And the fire's red glare the planes bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;


O' say does that Star-Spangled Banner still wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Every day should be Flag Day. Our nation has so much to be proud of. We have nothing to be ashamed of and no one to apologize to. We are far from perfect but we are the last best hope for a more peaceful and just world.

The symbol of our might and our mercy is our flag. Long may she wave!

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.

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