Friday, August 21, 2009

Our National Anthem

My Dad recently sent me an e-mail about our National Anthem that was so moving I have thought of it multiple times since then. I remember the story of the anthem from when I was in school, but this version of the story really brought it home. This version tells the story of Francis Scott Key and his experiences that fateful morning in more detail. I listened to it with tears rolling down my face and then had each member of my family (yes, including the teenagers!) listen to it, and they too were moved.
The story really makes me think about what our country has gone through for our freedom. The flag represents all we stand for and have fought for with our mens' lives. Whether we are Republican, Democrat or somewhere in between (I'll give you one guess as to which I am NOT), the battles are the same. The soldiers who have won our wars are really the same as one another, they are willing to risk their lives for the freedom of our people who want to continue to live in the same way as we currently do.
In these very troubling times, it has been a very pleasant reminder of what this great country stands for. I thought that it was appropriate to share this with all of you for you to share with your families. I did learn something new, and that is there are three more verses in our beautiful song that are rarely sang. Many of these verses were written the day of the original story, whereas the first verse was written while Mr. Key was still unsure of the outcome of the battle at Fort McHenry. I will include the poem that Francis Scott Key wrote in it's entirety:
—Francis Scott Key, 1814

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!

Have a Miracle of a Day!

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