It was dark time when Francis Scott Key penned the immortal words to what became our national anthem. We were at war with the British, again, in the War of 1812. The Brits had burned the White House to the ground. We'd had some victories at sea, notably by the USS Constitution (still at anchor in Boston). The greatest victory of the war came after the war was over: Andy "By-God" Jackson's victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.
Today, very few people know that our National Anthem has four verses. Some folks here know that I used to sing in the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, starting when I was fifteen years old. Obamacare ended my hopes of spending the rest of my life in the Lyric ... the union that handles America's opera companies said, "No one over 45 years of age." But that's for another rant!
After the attack on 9/11, I started singing ONLY the fourth verse of the National Anthem. The words are powerful, and just as relevant to today, as they were when Key penned them, so many year ago. Indeed, they may be even more relevant, by a factor of ten.
"Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
between their loved homes,
and the war's desolation.
Blessed 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
forever shall wave.
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave."
I've sang this verse of the Anthem so long that I've forgotten the first verse.
NOTE: When I can get back into my church, I'll make a recording of the above, and post it below.