Strains of Patriotism - The Star-Spangled Banner

I love this country. Granted, it's got some problems. Make that a lot of problems. But every time the Fourth of July comes around, every time I see Old Glory waving in all her majestic splendor on high, and every time I hear a strain of patriotic music, I'm seized with a fit of patriotism that makes me want to wear red, white, and blue every day.

Is there anything wrong with this? Of course not! Just because our country is sick does not mean we should abandon her. Indeed, this is the time when we should most steadfastly stand by her - not by her flaws and imperfections, but by America herself, the true America which our founding fathers envisioned, the land of the free and the home of the brave. For it is only through the fire of virtuous patriotism that we can ever hope to burn away the many ugly blots which stain our country's flag and make it into the nation we owe our allegiance to.

With that said, I've decided to encourage this little flame of enthusiasm to grow and spread by posting a patriotic song or poem once a week. (Just watch: next Saturday I'll completely forget I ever made such a resolution....)

Here we go!

First up: the National Anthem! Oh, this is such a spectacular song, and it's so much more than just the first verse. My favorite part is the second stanza - so powerful and exultant! Beautiful!

The Star-Spangled Banner

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, thro' 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 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, thro' 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 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.
 
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 wash'd out their foul footstep's 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 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 has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause 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.

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