The Star-Spangled Banner

So, my Sweet Pea has been learning all about American History this year.  One of the things that came with the Sonlight curriculum was a CD and book labeled Wee Sing America.  For lack of a better description, it’s the songs of America that all Americans should know.  And while typically Sweet Pea has been doing her school work by herself while I work with Little Bit, this is one of the things we’ve been listening to together.

One of today’s songs was The Star-Spangled Banner.

Did you know that there are more than the one verse that we typically sing?  Verses two and three seem to be a bit of a jibe at the British.  But it’s verse four that sort of gets me.  It’s the principles I believe that the United States of America was founded upon, and what I see us drifting so dangerously away from.  Here are the words of our national anthem:

The Star Spangled Banner
Words by Francis Scott Key, Music by John Stafford Smith
O 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 rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O 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! 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!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heaven-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!

And just so you know how much this means, here is a video of a former marine singing the fourth verse.  (He incorrectly calls it the second verse.)  I am moved to tears every time I watch this, not only by his singing, but by the crowds standing for our flag.  I agree with him.  This verse should be taught to our young children, and it should be sung often and loudly.

God bless America.