The Star-Spangled Banner

March 4, 2008 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Held captive on British warship in 1814, Frances Scott Key watched helplessly as the British Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry.  As darkness finally gave way to light, Key was relieved to discover that the stars and stripes of the American flag still flew over the U.S. fort, signalling to all that the American forces had not been defeated by the British invaders.  Key wrote a poem about the event, “In Defense of Fort McHenry,” which was soon set to music as The Star-Spangled Banner and thrilled audiences across the young nation.  Almost 117 years later, the American Congress officially made this patriotic ballad the official National Anthem of the United States of America.

Oh, 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.
Oh, 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 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 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 homes and the war’s desolation;
Blessed 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!

For more history about the song, visit the National Institute of Education & Human Services website or Wikipedia’s extensive history page.

Here are the young men from “Take 6″ with a beautiful a capella version of the national anthem:

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My Country ‘Tis of Thee The More We Get Together

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