Friday, July 4, 2014

Oh 'merica

Happy fourth of July! Not only does the US celebrate its 238th birthday, but this summer is the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. It was during the battle over the port of Baltimore that Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become our national anthem over one hundred years later on March 3rd, 1931. The 25-hour battle over Fort McHenry ended with the American flag being raised in the early hours of September 14th, 1814.

Defence of Fort M'Henry – Francis Scott Key

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?

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, 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 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.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry 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!

As you celebrate the fourth this year, please remember to follow the flag code and proper etiquette on the display and handling of the flag. Happy fourth of July!!!

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, a new biography of Francis (known as 'Frank' to his friends and family) has just been published, and I listened to the author speak at a bookstore just yesterday. Apparently Frank wrote poems for all sorts of family occasions and events, but many of them were quite bad. And no one really knows how this poem he wrote ever even made it to a publisher.... Also, it became the national anthem only in 1931!


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