Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

as a baby enters this world, gasping and crying for air, the mommy cries too for the daddy who is thousands of miles away and missing this precious moment

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?

a wife exhausted, dejected, and feeling utterly alone reaches out to the empty spot beside her in bed and cries herself to sleep

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,

first birthday, first steps, first words…all missed..skype and email never doing justice to the real thing

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?

a preschooler stumbles into the room at 3 a.m. sobbing and crying about why is Daddy gone and I miss him so much

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

a mother sits on the end of her bed, sifting through a box of  old playthings, wondering when her son traded his onsie for a uniform

Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

white stones, stretching as far as eye can see on a quiet hill in Washington

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

each a testament of a life lived, lost, and given-a son, a daugher, a mother, a father, a wife, a husband

The Ultimate Sacrifice. 

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Never, never, never forget.

Freedom isn’t Free.