This Sunday over 100 million Americans will be huddled around big screen televisions to watch the Super Bowl 50. Around 6PM attention will move to the field for the coin toss and then the National Anthem. The crowd will come to silence but then start cheering as the final stanza is sung.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I’ve lived in Hingham for 30 years. This year those words hold special meaning for Hingham residents as we mourn the death of Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Orlando and celebrate the return of Matthew Trevithick, who was held in a prison in Iran for 40 days.
Cpl. Christopher Orlando was killed on January 14th in a midair collision of two helicopters off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. There has been an outpouring of support for the Hingham family of Christopher honoring the sacrifice of a young man who lost his life while serving his country.
Matthew Trevithick returned home to Hingham to the relief of his family and our entire community. Matt traveled to Iran in September for a four-month intensive program at a language center affiliated with Tehran University. It is unclear why he was taken into custody and held in Evin Prison for more than a month.
Both of these young men provide special meaning to the words “home of the brave”. For most of us, war is an abstraction – something we hear about on television and read about in the newspapers. Being arrested and sitting in a foreign prison takes place in movies. But war is real and Americans are unjustly arrested abroad. In comparison Hingham is an idyllic place where we are free to watch football on a Sunday evening among our friends and in the safety of our homes.
Hingham could just as easily be Arlington, Swampscott, Needham or any town in Massachusetts. So as we listen to the final stanza of our National Anthem, let’s not take our freedom lightly and remember, this is the “home of the brave.”