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The Star-Spangled Banner

“In 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions to impede on-going American trade with France, with which Britain was at war. The U.S. contested these restrictions as illegal under international law. The British did not wish to allow the Americans to trade with France, regardless of their theoretical right as neutrals to do so.”(Wikipedia) The tensions increased and the wealthy politicians in Britain exercised their influence and put pressure on the America to bow to their wishes. An unstated but powerful motivation for the Americans was the desire to uphold their newly won national honor in the face of what they considered to be British tests and insults.

It is this war “whereby the fledging, in-fighting, unprepared baby United States cemented its status as an independent nation by defeating the most powerful military power in the western world. The final battle waged in Baltimore, Maryland, was the one celebrated in Francis Scott Key’s famous poem, which was made into our national anthem: “Star Spangled Banner”. READ MORE

The Battle for Ft McHenry

    The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire, including those of present-day Canada.[nb 2] The Americans declared war in 1812 for a number of reasons, including a desire for expansion into the Northwest Territory, trade restrictions because of Britain’s ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, and the humiliation of American honour. Until 1814, the British Empire adopted a defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. However, the Americans gained control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and destroyed Tecumseh’s dream of an Indian confederacy. In the Southwest General Andrew Jackson humbled the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend but with the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large armies along with more patrols. British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed the British to capture and burn Washington, D.C. American victories in September 1814 and January 1815 repulsed British invasions of New York, Baltimore and New Orleans.” CONTINUE READING

Scribbled lyrics by the inspired F.S.Key

“During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort’s smaller “storm flag” continued to fly, but once the shell and Congreve rocket barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. By then, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised.

During the bombardment, HMS Erebus provided the “rockets red glare”. HMS Meteor provided at least some of the “bombs bursting in air”.

Key was inspired by the American victory and the sight of the large American flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, came to be known as the Star Spangled Banner Flag and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, and again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program.
Aboard the ship the next day, Key wrote a poem on the back of a letter he had kept in his pocket. At twilight on September 16, he and Skinner were released in Baltimore. He completed the poem at the Indian Queen Hotel, where he was staying, and entitled it “Defence of Fort McHenry.” (Wikipedia)

The Star-Spangled Banner” was written in a time of great national crisis. The Capital of the United States had fallen to the enemy. Its most important Federal buildings were charred ruins in the wake of the British occupation. There seemed to be nothing separating Britain’s vaunted military power from complete victory, except the small bodies of scattered and disorganized militia. American morale was at a low ebb. It required a bold man at that time to prophesy the spiritual rebirth of the American Nation as Francis Scott Key did in “The Star-Spangled Banner.” CONTINUE READING

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!

We still enjoy more liberty than any other nation, but that arguably has begun to change. The Stars and Stripes still wave over this land, but are Americans still “the brave?” Do we have the courage to maintain our liberty?

This week, we have witnessed Egyptian people rising to the occasion and overthrowing the undesirable government we President Obama helped to install. They are fighting for their FREEDOM! Their courage is evident. Regardless how it turns out, I am impressed with their resolve. They want FREEDOM! Do we even realize our freedoms are being slid under the proverbial rug to disappear in time?

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