America and Hamilton the Musical (MAJ (RET) Montgomery J. Granger, 2/10/24, American Daily Press)

Despite my frustration at the absence of any traditional patriotism expressed in lyrics or set or costumes, there is, in fact, one mention of such symbolism.

A search of the lyrics of “Guns and Ships” demonstrates that the line “Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher” is a metaphorical expression emphasizing the idea of achieving victory and independence. The mention of Betsy Ross’ flag, with its thirteen stars in a circle representing the original thirteen colonies, is a symbol of the United States.

The line comes in the midst of describing the challenges faced by the Continental Army, a “ragtag volunteer army,” in its fight against the powerful British forces. The reference to waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher suggests overcoming adversity and proudly asserting the American cause. It’s a poetic way of expressing the determination and resilience of the American forces in the face of a formidable opponent and adds depth and imagery to the narrative of the musical.

In the end, my own bias is exposed. But maybe that was one of Miranda’s goals. That, like art in general, it’s not about the creator’s interpretation; it’s about yours.