Celebrating a Great Nation
By Chaplain Allen Teal
The Star-Spangled Banner
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 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!
The “Star-Spangled Banner” was written on September 14, 1814, by Francis Scott Key while on the HMS Minden. At thirty-five years of age, he was about the same age as the nation. The night was spent watching the attack of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The large flag flying at the fort had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. He composed a four stanza poem about his thoughts and feelings as he watched the flag continue to wave throughout the night and into the morning.
Although Americans recognize it as the National Anthem, the words convey great power when they are read as a poem. The first verse recalls a night of fierce attack. Verse two describes the failure of the attackers to prevail. In verse three, the poem describes the blessing of freedom that the victory has secured. The final verse acknowledges that both the freedom and the victory were granted by the power of God’s hand moving on behalf of the nation.
As citizens of the United States, the liberty we enjoy should never be taken for granted. When fireworks light up the sky to celebrate our day of our independence, remember two truths: Americans enjoy more freedom and prosperity than any nation on the earth. These were purchased by many sacrifices and lives. Second, it is our trust in and reliance upon the blessings of God that has kept our nation strong and free.