Sunday, July 5, 2009

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

I have heard people say that they don't like our national anthem. Some have even said that they though it meaningless today. I disagree. This song invariably moves me. It also challenges me.

If you do not know the history of the writing of The Star Spangled Banner, you can find it and more here.

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through 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?

I think of the great relief Francis Key felt when he realized the flag still flew. I think about the freedoms that flag represents, all who have sacrificed, the threats they have faced and the threats we continue to face. The battle continues.

On the shore, dimly seen through 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 in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh 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 washed 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.

Some people think that we offend and insult the British by continuing to sing these. Oh, no. They are our friends. However, there are large haughty hosts of foes assailing this country and her freedoms, within and without her borders. The battle's confusion is very much in the cacophony of loud voices and even more the quiet, subtle voices undermining America's moral fabric and challenging her freedoms and responsibilities. The greatest dangers are from within.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved 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!

Is this still the home of the brave? I am not very brave. But if we don't defend freedom, we will lose it. America needs soldiers, not only uniformed soldiers, but citizen soldiers.

It isn't easy. I am bombarded with more information than I can handle. There is more to learn and do than any of us can manage. We cannot do everything, but we can do something. Read a little, learn a little, write our representatives, vote, discuss.

My prayer is that we will learn when and where to stand as freemen.


  1. I love our national anthem. Thank you for this post. :)

  2. According to the wikipedia article on the national anthem, both sides of the Civil War claimed "The Star-Spangled Banner". In the north an additional verse was popular:

    When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
    If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
    Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
    The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
    By the millions unchained,
    Who their birthright have gained
    We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
    While the land of the free is the home of the brave.