A Song About a Flag

Happy Flag Day!!

America is a diverse land. The genius of America is, and always has been, it's ability to forge an unbreakable union from people of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Liberals and conservatives, the religious and the irreligious, warriors and poets, rich and poor; all conjoined by the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We are bound together by the forward march of history and our place in it.

There are few things that bring us together quite like that moment when we hear the opening notes of our National Anthem and look up to see The Stars and Stripes streaming overhead. We aren't just connected in the moment but also connected to all of those who have gone on before in allegiance to that majestic flag. It is difficult, even for the most cynical among us, to deny the emotion of that instance.

Today is Flag Day and what better way to celebrate than to sing a song about a flag, our flag, The Star Spangled Banner. Many folks don't realize there are four verses to this song, I encourage you to learn them all.


The Star-Spangled Banner


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 through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s 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 wash’d 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.

O thus be it ever when freemen 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 power 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.

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Tammy Osier June 14, 2012 at 05:06 PM
The Star Spangled Banner lyrics "....and our flag was still there"... are the most significant part of the song for me. The "rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air", GAVE PROOF that it was still waving, giving them courage to continue the fight. I got true understanding for the first time as an adult after watching the Patriot (with Mel Gibson). Suddenly, I had a better understanding of the American Revolution, even after having read about it all my life in history books in school. From then on, when I heard those words in the Star Spangled Banner, they had a greater meaning. The thought that our flag might not have been waving (but replaced by another) should cause all of us to pause, and make us more grateful to live in such a great land; truly the land of the free, and the home of the brave, and to appreciate those who fight to preserve it.
Brian Crawford June 14, 2012 at 05:23 PM
If you click on The Star Spangled Banner title above the lyrics there's a wonderful link to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History that tells the story of the song and it's legacy.
North Georgia Weather June 14, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Good stuff Brian. Thank you.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew June 14, 2012 at 07:50 PM
It's a Kodak moment ... The earth is shaking somewhere (Smiles)
Colleen Walsh Fong June 15, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Very nice. Thank you, Brian!


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