Happy Fourth of July!
Today marks the 234th birthday of American independence. With that in mind, I would like to share the story of the Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. The words were penned by Francis Scott Key in 1812:You are likely familiar with the first verse:
“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, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's 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 still 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.
“O thus be it ever when free men 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.”
It was during the War of 1812. A naval battle raged for control of Baltimore harbor. The British fleet attacked on September 12, 1814. They had to destroy Fort McHenry in order to seize the harbor. The American “Star-Spangled Banner” proudly flew over Fort McHenry, taunting the British with the American independence for which it stood. The battle raged against the Fort for over 25 hours with a torrent of bombs from the British. Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, was being held on board a British truce ship during the battle. He observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry through the rain and the night. America must hold the Fort! Could they withstand the constant barrage and maintain the harbor? The British fleet was not able to infiltrate the harbor because Fort McHenry held their ground. The attack ended and the British withdrew. On the morning of September 14, as the dawn brought on a new day, the tattered emblem of our nation could be seen by Francis Scott Key over the ramparts, still flying proudly over Fort McHenry. American soldiers had withstood the battle, held the ground, and maintained control of Baltimore. Mr. Key was so moved by what he had observed that he penned the words to a poem entitled Defiance of Ft. McHenry. Portions of the poem were later set to music and adopted as the National Anthem for our great country.
I am so proud to be an American, and we are all blessed with great freedom. I am thankful to those who have died in years past, and those who are now hazarding their lives in order to preserve that freedom. I am grateful for the “Power that [has] preserved us a nation!” May God revive His church here in America so that our country may see another “Great Awakening!”
God Bless America