Oh Say, Will You See?


by Phillip Leonard

The Stars and Stripes flying over Ft. McHenry near Baltimore, MD.  It was here Francis Scott Key penned the words to our National Anthem in 1814.

       Francis Scott Key, the author of the words to our National Anthem witnessed the battle for Fort McHenry, at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor.  It was during the War of 1812 and he was trying to rescue a man held prisoner by our enemy.  As the evening of September 13, 1814 turned into night, he knew his life and that of his fellow Americans was in doubt.

       As the morning light brightened in the east, it became apparent the opposition had not succeeded in taking control of the fort because he could see the American flag still flying atop the fort’s flagpole just inside the entrance.  He understood that Americans had resisted the attack of a foreign tyrant.  This inspired him to write the words of The Star-Spangled Banner.

     Perhaps the struggle for Fort McHenry is a metaphor for the struggle we face today as we try to preserve our liberties.  The fourth verse of our great anthem is less known than the first.  I wonder if we will be able to sing it with the same joy and meaning with which it was written on the day after this November’s election.

The fourth verse goes like this:

Oh thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;

Bless’d with victory and peace, may our Heaven-rescued land

    Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for 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.

                                         — Francis Scott Key

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