To the editor:
The Star-Spangled Banner is sung at sporting events, ball games and 4th of July celebrations around the country with great gusto by fans in the stands with words like “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” Fantastic fireworks displays follow, designed to thrill and delight the masses and are enjoyed by all with one exception: a combat veteran.
For these men, the streaming trails of fire, the shattering explosions, the bright flares, the bombs bursting and detonations of high explosives take them to a dark place in their soul, long kept distant. It brings feelings of loss, of melancholia, a powerful overwhelming sadness, and despair, a regret that innocence lost so long ago will never return. Veterans have seen real fire trails and the walking shadows of phosphorous flares, heard the exploding sounds of death and personally experienced the painful, tragic results from brutal war up front and personal.
To veterans, war is not something to celebrate; nor a song to sing.