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This morning I was up early. I saw the sunrise. It was great. Mom wanted me to stop at a bakery out of town and get some donuts for the ladies she works with. This bakery opens at 6 and you don’t want to get there after 7.  I headed out a little after 6. I took the longer way out of town and as I hit the highway ,I turned the radio on. It took me a minute to recognize the song. It was the “Star Spangled Banner”. I could not remember the last time I heard that  song on the radio.

I had the sunroof open and the windows down, so I turned the radio up and sang – which for me is a feat only to be accomplished in the solitude of my car. I would not want to be responsible for the ear drums of others. In case you have forgotten the lyrics of that first verse here they are:

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 thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

I thought about that song. I thought how it was a shame it had been so long since I had heard that song outside of the fourth of July and baseball games. I wondered how many people only associate this song with those events, and resist the urge to shout “Play ball!” at the end of the last line.

I remember singing this song in school, and reading the story behind it. My favorite line is  “gave proof through the night that our flag was still there”. What a testament to strength and endurance. Imagine you are in a battle, and when things look bleak, to look up and in midst of battle and death, you get a glimpse of the flag that represents everything you fight for in the fire light. What a moment that must have been.

As I rounded the bend, I saw the sun. It was magnificent in its glory. I was blinded momentarily and when my eyes came to, I saw the amazing colors. The blue sky that was to foreshadow the rest of the day, pinks, lavendars, and the most amazing yellow. The sun was rising over a small lake and so I caught a glimpse of this wonderous sight, not once, but twice in the reflection on the water. It was enough to take your breath away. In that one instant I felt so blessed. To live in this country, to have the vision to see its wonders, and to be able to bask in the beauty of it all.