For those of you who are proud to be a United States citizen, with you I celebrate the anniversary of our declaring our independence from England and the tyrannical King George III.
Many Americans think that our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was written in response to the 1776 Declaration of Independence. It was sometime later, in 1812, and the British were trying to re-take what they called “the rebellious colonies.” It was in 1814 that a British fleet was off the coast of Maryland and captured several colonists they deemed “suspicious.” One of those colonists was attorney Francis Scott Key. The British fleet was bombarding Maryland’s Fort McHenry, and Key was placed in the cargo hold of one of the ships. He watched the bombardment and earnestly waited for signs of our flag still waving above the fort. In the early light of the next morning, in the illumination of bombs and rockets, he saw our flag still bravely waving. He sat down and penned a poem, finding a scrap of paper in his pocket. The poem was originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” and in 1889 the song was adopted by the Navy. President Herbert Hoover signed the song into law, making it our national anthem in 1931.
Now when you sing the song (and, in my opinion, every American should learn by heart at least the first verse), you will know what the words mean!
Even with the flaws that the United States has, even with its sometimes-cruel history, it is still the Land of the Free, because of the Brave. Celebrate it! And today, when you see someone in uniform, thank them for their brave service.
Happy Fourth to you!