On the evening of September 3, 1814, 35 year old Francis Scott Key was held captive on British warships while the British attempted to subdue Baltimore. On that rainy night Key watched as Fort McHenry was continually bombarded by cannon and rocket fire. When dawn broke on September 4, Key was so inspired to see the large flag still flying over the fort that he wrote a poem entitled, “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” The poem was later set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” On March 3, 1931, by congressional resolution, “The Star-Spangled Banner” officially became our National Anthem.
There are four verses to the anthem, but we generally only sing the first. The fourth verse speaks of those who have served to keep our freedoms alive:
O! 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!
May America never lack free men and women who will be willing to stand and defend the cause of freedom. May America never forget those who have given the last full measure of their devotion to that cause. And may America always remember the Power by which we have been granted freedom! May it always be said in America: “In God is our trust!”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).
“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” (Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention of 1787).
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
(Crieve Hall Family Chronicle 50.22; p. 1)