A May 13 letter related the history of the beloved anthem, "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The writer reminded us that Union troops marched to this song. It is noteworthy that federal troops also secured the safety of Washington D.C., 1861-1865, including our Capitol building, where an elected representative government continued to function. Congress remained in session despite a large portion of the republic having chosen to tear the nation apart following the defeat in 1860 of its preferred candidate for president.
Under their "Stars and Bars" banner, these rebel forces would have been happy to charge up the same Capitol steps as rioters, also disappointed with the results of a fair election, did on Jan. 6. A few supporters of the last defeated president carried that same flag into the heart of our republic, one of their "battle cries," as implied by this letter, being: "America First."
To this day, their "leader" persists in his lies while few Republican senators or representatives have enough backbone to stand against him.
I recall another patriotic song, composed in 1797, by Franz Josef Haydn to honor Austria's sovereign. Years later, it became the anthem of a united German nation. Sadly, in the 1930s, this hymn was adopted by the Nazis to help promote their hero, Hitler, and his evil regime. Millions were seduced by Hitler's lies; tens of millions suffered and died.
The song began: “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der welt,” or, "Germany, Germany above all, above everything in the world" — a longer way of simply saying "Germany first."
Are we at risk of something similar? One hopes not. However, the "...populist, nationalist movement called 'America First'” and its "... new 'Battle-Hymn of the Republic,'” as described in the letter from May 13, may well be cause for concern.