Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Star Spangled Banner

Today we celebrate our Nation's two hundred thirty-sixth Birthday! Happy Birthday, America! Or, is today really our birthday? In doing some research for this post I found some interesting information on our origin, the flag, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the date John Adams wanted us to celebrate our anniversary (July second), the Band of Five and the reason for this post. The Smithsonian's website has a fascinating read to learn about our flag. You can read it by clicking here.

I find it interesting he was a slave owner and huge proponent of slavery. According to several historical sites, he spent his whole life fighting for the right to own slaves.

I do not know how hot and humid it is where you are, but we set a record of one hundred one degrees here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. With stifling dew points, and hot temperatures, events have been canceled and/or scaled back.

Tonight, there will be fireworks displays all over the country and we will once again, come together as one nation, at least for one night. Personally, I cannot tolerate the high heat and dew point over sixty degrees, so I have just stayed in the air conditioning, watched a little television, did some research and plan to watch the Twins try to beat Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers tonight.

Which brings me to the point of this post. When Francis Scott Key watched the British bomb and burn the city of Washington on the night and early morning of September 13-14, 1814, he penned the poem's four stanzas. It was not until March 3, 1931 it became our national anthem by a congressional resolution and was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Here is Key's poem he originally wrote on the back of a letter he had in his coat pocket:

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 thro’ the mist 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. 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 footstep’s 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.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes 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 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 know, it is the first stanza we all know as our National Anthem. My question to you is this: Did we pick the correct stanza to celebrate? What do you think?

I look forward to your comments.




Daniel Milner said...

Pretty darn hot here in VA too Mike. And we had no power from Friday night until midday Sunday! Happy 4th of July to you!

Anonymous said...

Screw this heat/weather in Kansas. I'm darn near ready to move to North Dakota for the summer.

Regarding your question on Keyes' stanza for our national anthem......i like this one as long as Rosanne, a rapper or some hip hop doesn't sing it.

Your token redneck in Kansas.