What do I love so much about the National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner -- that is also my National Anthem?
I have a fiery spirit that doesn't often show itself unless it's provoked.
The actions of the NFL players, particularly that guy Colin - they infuriated me.
How much does that dude know about the history of that anthem? I don't think he really ever took the time to learn about it; he doesn't really identify with it.
I happen to identify with it, a lot.
You see? The rebellious, unyielding fiery spirit that supports it - it's the same antioppressive spirit that inspired the national anthem of the country where I was born, Cuba. La Bayamesa, the inational anthem of Cuba starts "We're up, going into combat. And it continues with blood-pumping slogans such as "Living on your knees is dying." "Dying on your feet is living."
That sort of spirit is the same sort of spirit that drove the American defenders of Fort McHenry up in Baltimore to refuse to take down the US flag even while a huge armada of British navy ships sent rocket after rocket and cannon ball after cannon ball against that fort. As long as the US flag would remain hoisted on that flag pole, the artillery barrage continued.
After a whole night of artillery bombardment, the US flag that had flown over that fort all night was still there. It must have received several bits of artillery shrapnel from the pounding. Who can know how many of the fort's defenders must have been hit by all those cannon from those enemy ships blasting the whole night at them. How many were wounded? How many died for that flag remaining there on that flag pole?
That's the spirit that drove those people in that fort to defy the British. To them, to have kept that flag waving up there was the same as dying on their feet, the same as refusing to live on their knees.
In Cuba, you had a number of Mambi sons and grandsons of Cuban Black slaves getting on their horses and wielding machetes and storming the Spaniard occupying soldiers. They died on their horses as cannons fired at them. When those who were still alive on their horses reached the Spaniards manning those cannons, they'd slash and stab those Spaniard soldiers. These Mambis like the American defenders of Fort McHenry refused to live on their knees. Those Mambi prefered to die on their feet, die standing.
That National Anthem, La Bayamesa, like the Star Spangled Banner spirit of preferring to die on your feet rather than live on your knees. You don't bend, you don't bow to strange gods. You prefer to live and die on your own values, your own terms, not when your oppressives say you do.
So when you have these football players refuse to do honor to our national anthem, you're looking at guys who live on their feet, living by the terms of political correctness. That's not the spirit for me. Give me the spirit of La Bayamesa. Give me the Spirit of the Star Spangled Banner - the cry of the human spirit to live and die in freedom.
Roberto E. Fiad