Our time changed this past weekend, which means I have been driving to work in the dark. Today, I saw a beautiful sight...a very large American flag which with our high winds made it very visible. You can picture it, can't you, a large flag fully extended against the black sky with just the beginning orange outline on the horizon? It was still so dark, that I could not make it out yet, I could only see that it was a flag. My heart lifted when I got closer and I could see the familiar Stars and Stripes! I thought of the story of Francis Scott Key and the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner", which he wrote originally as a poem "The Defence of Fort McHenry".
Francis Scott Key, click on his name there and you can read the wonderful story behind the writing of what is now the National Anthem for the USA. It's a great story and great song.. And before anyone tells me this, I already know that the tune was really a drinking song in England, but hey, so what, it sounds better to these stirring words...
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?
I am reading a wonderful book just now, and it is a true story from World War II. The ship, the SS Leopoldville carrying troops across the English Channel was torpedoed on Dec. 24, 1944. At first, the soldiers were glad to see the crew manning the lifeboats, but when they realized that the crew were only preparing the boats for THEMSELVES and that they were leaving the soldiers on a sinking ship, the men began to sing "The Star Spangled Banner", and those who survived it, recalled how very moved they were to hear them sing this song. I will tell you more about this book, I promise you that.
Quite a few examples of "The Star Spangled Banner" on YouTube, I hope you like the one I have here for you.