Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Star Spangled Banner

                    Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation knows and loves the history of our great nation.  While reading many of the interesting stories of the history of the United States, I found the story of Francis Scott Key and the Star Spangled Banner to be particularly fascinating.

                    Francis Scott Key was a young lawyer when he boarded a British warship for a humanitarian purpose on September 13, 1814.  He boarded the ship for the purpose of obtaining the release of an elderly American doctor who had been caught taking British stragglers prisoner.  Key argued that Dr. Beanes had treated his prisoners humanly and persuaded the British to release him; however, neither American could leave the ship that night because the British warships were bombarding Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore.

The flag known as the "Star-Spangled Banner" could be seen flying over Fort McHenry from the ship.  This original Star-Spangled Banner was made by Mary Young Pickersgill under a government commission in 1813 at a cost of $405.90.  It was ordered by George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry, who specified that he wanted "a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance."  The flag originally measured 30 by 42 feet.

                    The British bombed the fort for 25 hours and continued throughout the night.  When the British ships were still unable to pass the fort and penetrate the harbor, the attack ended and Fort McHenry remained in American hands.

 Old Dr. Beanes asked Key frequently if the flag was still there.  At dawn when the Americans could see the flag fluttering in the wind, they knew that the United States had won the battle and that Baltimore had been spared.  Today the original Star-Spangled Banner hangs in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

                    Francis Scott Key was so moved by the events of the night that he penned a poem with the title of "The Defense of Fort M'Henry."  This poem lifted the spirits of all Americans and gave them the courage needed to continue battling the British.  With a new title of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and music written by John Stafford Smith, the poem became our national anthem in 1931.  This version of our national anthem is sung by a seven-year-old girl.  

                    One reason why parents need to share historically true stories such as this one is because our history is being changed and rewritten by Progressives who want to take our nation in a different direction than the one laid out by our Founders.   Now the attack is centering on our national anthem.

Recently I read a transcription of the remarks of a liberal talk show host about our national anthem.  Bill Press began his criticism of our anthem complaining about how hard it is to sing, but he soon descended into a rant about the actual lyrics.

"PRESS (11:31):  … But it's an abomination.  First it ranges two octaves most people can only do kind of one octave.  I mean when you think about it, it's bombs bursting in air rocket's red glare it all kind of, you know a lot of national anthems are that way, all kinds of military jargon and the land there's only one phrase `the land  the free' which is kind of nice and `the home of the brave?'  I don't know.
"OGBURN:  I mean I get that part.
"PRESS:  Are we [Americans] the only ones who are brave on the planet?  I mean all the brave people live here.  I mean it's just stupid I think.  I'm embarrassed.  I'm embarrassed every time I hear it."

                    Unlike Bill Press, I cannot hear or sing our national anthem without feeling greater love for my country and a surge in my patriotic feelings.  I often think of Francis Scott Key on that battle ship watching as the bombs burst in the air over his country.  I believe that historically true stories such as this one will strengthen families, communities, and nations.

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 thru 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 thru 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!  Oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh, 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!

Updated June 30, 2012:
                    I do not normally listen to rock music, but I listened to Madison Rising because I love patriotic music.  This band meshes their patriotism with lyrical genius and musical talent.  I encourage you to listen as they present their version of "The Star Spangled Banner."  

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