Monday, 24 Feb 2020

Our Anthem


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Former President Obama does not like our National Anthem!

“As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want to be perceived as taking sides,” Obama said. “There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem it self conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.”

Francis Scott Key was an attorney and poet who wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the U.S. national anthem.

Francis Scott Key was a lawyer who witnessed the British attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 which was a conflict with Britain over the kidnapping of U.S. seamen and the disruption of trade with France.  A colleague of Key‘s was taken prisoner by the British and Key was asked to negotiate his friends release who was being held on one of the British ships along Chesapeake Bay. Key was successful in getting his friend released but the British would not allow them to return to land until the British had finished their bombardment of Ft. McHenry.  The next day he watched what would become a day-long assault. After continual bombing, to Key’s surprise, the British weren’t able to destroy the fort, and Key noted upon the dawning of the next morning a large U.S. flag being flown. (It had in fact been sewn by Mary Pickersgill at the request of the fort commander.)  The Americans did not surrender so British ceased their attack and left the area. The fort had withstood the day-long assault, inspiring Key to write down the words for a poem that he would continue composing at an inn the next day.  The work, which relied heavily on visualizations of what he witnessed, would come to be known as the “Defence of Fort McHenry” a poem that would become the future U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Decades later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” should be played at official events.  On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover along with Congress had the song declared the U.S. national anthem.  An anthem is a musical composition of celebration, usually used as a symbol for a distinct group, particularly the national anthems of of countries.

President Obama doesn’t like the National Anthem.  Obviously he has no clue as to what it is about or understand that it is an eye witness account of the bombarding of Ft. McHenry during the war of 1812.  How could any Patriot not like this Anthem.

There are actually 4 Verses to the ‘Poem’, ‘Song’. The first two are below with an explanation of the significance  and what was meant by each.  Would be good for kids to help understand the what the Anthem is all about.  Understanding what it is about brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear and sing it.

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics Verse 1
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

  • The flag that flew over the fort was enormous. The commander of Fort Henry, Important George Armistead had commissioned Mary Pickersgill to make “a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance”
    The flag could be seen from several miles away and Francis Scott Key was saying that it could be seen in the last light before nightfall and the first light at dawn.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

  • The ‘perilous fight’ was the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

  • The Star Spangled Banner was streaming over the ramparts (battlements) of the fort.

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

  • The “rocket’s red glare” and the “bombs bursting” used alliteration to describe the cannon fire pounding from the British navy and the cannons firing from the fort (one of the ships was armed with a rocket launcher).

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

  • The angry red glow from the cannon fire enabled the Americans who were imprisioned on the ship to see their Star Spangled Banner was still flying and that the British had not captured the fort and hoisted the Union Jack (the British Flag).

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

  • The Star Spangled Banner was waving over the ‘land of the free’ – was a reference to the fight for Independence ( The American Revolution) that had resulted in freedom from the tyranny of the British.

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The ‘home of the brave’ lyrics reflect the heroic exploits of Americans to defend their country.

The War of 1812 was popularly known as the ‘Second War for Independence’

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics Verse 2

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! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Meaning of Star Spangled Banner Lyrics Verse 2

● Francis Scott Key was describing the perspective from the land as American looked out to hazy images of the British ships
● The ‘foe’s haughty host’ lyrics describe the vessels of the arrogant British
● The lyrics ‘dread silence reposes’ express the view of the ships that look quiet and still as if resting, but are actually a hive of terrifying activity
● Francis Scott Key describes the high vertical position of the flag over Fort Henry in the lyrics ‘o’er the towering steep’ and the movement of the flag blowing in the wind, concealing and then revealing the Star Spangled Banner
● The sun comes out and clearly shines on the Star Spangled Banner, ‘in full glory’ lyrics express the grandeur of the flag and a religious connotation
● Francis Scott Key almost makes the Star Spangled Banner lyrics ‘cheer’ using the patriotic words “Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”