Dinner Topics for Friday
Independence Day: Liberty and Star Spangled Banner Anthem
At church when we stand and sing the Star-Spangled Banner (it’s in our hymn book), I feel new hope that the majority of the American people still love this country and believe in American exceptionalism. Politics alone are no longer the solution to our growing tyranny and loss of liberty. It is a cultural problem. Our only hope is to teach our children the gospel of Jesus Christ and the history and constitutional principles that once made this country a beacon of liberty to all the world–that is, teach them Biblical values–the culture of liberty, and to restore America’s covenant with God. ~C.A. Davidson
Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad strips 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 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 Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our 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!
~Francis Scott Key
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner”, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one octave and one fifth (a semitone more than an octave and a half), it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. “Hail, Columbia” served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, whose melody is identical to “God Save the Queen“, the British national anthem, also served as a de facto anthem. Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs emerged to compete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star-Spangled Banner”.