Allen B. West

Oh say, can you see? [VIDEO]

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Today is the bicentennial of our nation’s anthem, the Star Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key on September 14, 1814 as he watched the shelling of Ft. McHenry by the British Navy in Baltimore harbor. The American flag stands as a global symbol of liberty and freedom for all people — a beacon. Today we remember what Key saw 200 years ago, men defending the honor of our nation and its flag during the final days of the War of 1812. The flag flew then and it continues to fly today.

And on this 200th anniversary celebration I can’t think of any better rendition of our National Anthem than that performed by the angelic voice of Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl in Tampa Florida. This we’ll defend.

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While the song was popular during the 1800s, it didn’t become the national anthem until the early 1930s. The military had adopted it for ceremonial purposes decades earlier, but it took legislation signed in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover to make it official. Here are the full four stanzas of The Star Spangled Banner if you’d like to sing along.

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?

On the shore, dimly seen through 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 in 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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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 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!

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