Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

The sight of this large flag still flying over Fort McHenry after a long night of battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became the U.S. national anthem. The flag we now call the Star-Spangled Banner is the very flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the fall of 1814.

The Star Spangled Banner

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I hate that we usually only sing the first verse of this great anthem. What is the point of that? The first verse is a question. Why don't we sing the answer to the question, because that is the important part of the song. Without the answer, we are left hanging as to what country controls the fort. (of course we know the answer, but that is not the point. The point would be that we just sing words and don't pay attention to what it is that we sing- that really irritates me and is my biggest pet peeve)

The Few, The Proud
My Stripling Warriors

Please remember on this great and wonderful day, that the freedoms that you are celebrating came at a great cost. Take time to get on your knees and thank our Father in Heaven for those men and women that gave of their blood so that you can live in freedom. They paid the ultimate price for you and for me, let us not forget that. The rockets might be a bit more sophisticated, the foes haughty host may not sleep through the night because they have night vision goggles to help them see. The ramparts are no longer in a fixed position, the bombs still burst- day and night. But our soldiers still fight for that Standard- the Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory to wave o're the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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