Last Saturday, on the Fourth of July, Nashville saw a lovely fireworks display at Memorial Park.
Mom and I sat on the lawn of the Senior Center with some of the residents.
As I watched the beautiful mums explode into momentary existence and then fade away, I thought back to the fierce fight which inspired the yearly celebration.
It was during the War of 1812, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland was held by the Americans and their flag flew above, identifying the occupiers.
Francis Scott Key was on board one of the British ships negotiating release of prisoners. He was not allowed to leave when he was done, because the British had decided to bombard the fort and try to take it.
All night the big guns of the British ships fired on the fort, trying to bring down the flag.
Key watched the bombardment, once in a while going down to the American prisoners and reporting to them the resistance of the flag to fall.
When morning broke, the flag still flew.
Francis Scott Key went home and wrote the poem we now sing as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Fireworks we see today mimic the bombs and rockets that tried to bring down that flag in 1812, and we set them off on our Independence Day to celebrate the birth of our country.