Thursday, July 03, 2008

4th of July Inspiration

I got a little patriotic today. Sat down at the piano and started playing. I haven't really sat down and played the piano like that in a while and I was in the mood to play so I did for about an hour or so. After awhile I decided to prepare for the 4th of July tomorrow by playing "Battle Hymn of the Republic", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", and "American, the Beautiful".
I learned to play all of those songs as a girl taking piano lessons, and I loved every minute of playing them. Milking them for all they were worth every year in church. But there is one song that eludes my fingers. Time and again I have tried to play the song only to stop because I can't get those four flat to come out of the keys. Maybe some day the National Anthem will be a breeze for me to play, but for now I will have to attempt to sing it, high notes and all.
So I stopped trying to play the song, because once again I thought maybe I could try, and sang it.
We are all familiar with the first verse. It's song at all the popular sports games, and the high school games. We get tears in our eyes every time we hear the song, while men, women and children alike screech out that very high E that no real mortal can hit.

"O 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, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

But did you know there is a second verse to it?
I guess I knew, but I never really paid attention to it. For that matter I couldn't quote you the words like I can the first verse, but I found it interesting that we leave that part of the song completely out of the mix.
Maybe it is because the words are kind of hard to fit with the tune so we think "No big deal, it's the first part that matters." But once you have read them, you may think differently.

"O thus be it ever, when free men 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 Pow'r 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!"

How timeless that verse is! You can't tell me that it is not. We need to be screaming this song from the roof tops and yet here we are totally forgetting everything that this verse is saying.
You've probably seen the saying that I have seen recently. It says "Real Freedom isn't Free". How true can that statement be?
Everyday our freedom is being fought for and despite that our cause is a just cause and so we must conquer, we hear nothing but complaining about the fact that there is a war. When has there not been a war somewhere?
In order for our star spangled banner to wave triumphantly over the free and the brave we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the freedom of others.
So the next time someone complains about our wars remind them that with out our wars, we would not be free. Also remind them that despite the fact that we try to take God out of the picture these days, we should "Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation" because without Him our flag and all our freedoms would have been a distant memory, if a memory at all.
May God Bless America Today and always and may we never forget that our Freedom, whether it is political, physical, or spiritual, is never free. Someone has to pay the price.

2 comments:

Rural Writer said...

Actually, there are more than two stanzas, although hymnbooks generally just include two. It would be good if we occasionally sang the whole song. You would find it very emotional to visit Fort McHenry (near Baltimore), see the presentation of the story of the anthem, and then watch the drapes open to reveal a replica of the flag, blowing in the breeze as the program culminates with the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner."

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!

Peggy said...

When I was 9 years old, my friend Sheila and I sang the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner during a play we were in. We were in 4th grade and recommened by the music teacher since we had memorized the verses! I loved those verses then and I certainly, still do!

Keep working on those 4 flats, Alicia!