Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 28

This weekend marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." On the morning of September 13, 1814 the British began their attack on Baltimore by bombarding Fort McHenry. The fort successfully resisted the British attack. The following morning Francis Scott Key saw the U. S. flag still flying over the fort and wrote his thoughts on paper setting his words to the tune of a popular English song. His brother-in-law, commander of a militia at Fort McHenry, read Key's words and had it printed with the name "Defence of Fort M'Henry." The Baltimore Patriot newspaper printed it and within weeks it would become known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."  In 1931 it was adopted by Congress as the official U.S. National Anthem. I know the first verse is familiar to all Americans,  but I encourage you to slowly read all four verses. The last one is very powerful! You can read more at

The Star-Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814
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 thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched 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.
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 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!

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!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory 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 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!


  1. Our national anthem - something so easy to take for granted. I'm sure I have read the other verses before but forgotten how very powerful they are. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Keys' words are beautiful both in writing and in song. He had a gift for description, that's for sure. He definitely conveys the mixture of fear and hope that he and his comrades felt during that long night. Thanks for sharing this today.


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