The Red, White and Blue: Forever May it Wave!

The flag desecration amendment vote last week fell one vote short of passage in the Senate, 66—34. A two—thirds majority was required.  As with most things important to the majority of Americans, it did pass in the House.  That stalwart of the Senate, Dick Durbin, D—Ill., who accused our military of performing their duties at the Guantanamo Bay detention center like Nazis, Pol Pot's killing regime and Soviet's in their gulags, voted against protecting the flag.  I wonder if Durbin ever heard of Frances Scott Key?

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Francis Scott Key, sought to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who was captured during the burning of Washington.  Key succeeded in this endeavor after a visit to the British Fleet in Chesapeake Bay.  However, Key was detained on a ship during the shelling of Fort McHenry, which defended the city of Baltimore. The next morning, he saw that the American flag was still flying over the fort.   This attorney and poet immediately penned a poem called 'The Star Spangled Banner' to memorialize the event.

Key's poem, of course, was put to music and has been the country's official national anthem since 1931.  The battle which Key witnessed occurred in September, 1814.  What took Congress so long before designating the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem?  Perhaps it was because a British composer was the originator of the tune put to Key's words. 

This story is a part of U.S. history.  Every school—aged child is aware of the significance of July 4, 1776, our Independence Day.  However, that 'independence' has had to be defended on many occasions.  This includes a war against France, our ally in the Revolutionary War, during the 1790's.  The War of 1812, once again against the British, was another test of a young nation.  Before the century was out, the Civil War and the Spanish American War were to be waged.

The War Between the States, our greatest test, was costliest, but made us stronger.  It affirmed our most basic beliefs; that all men are created equal and that freedom and liberty is for all.  In this war, the South adopted the banner of the 'Bars and Stars,' while the North retained the 'Stars and Stripes.'  Known also as Old Glory, the American flag is not just a symbol of a nation, it is a defining symbol of freedom.

This July 4th is the 230th birthday of the American dream.  It is a dream that is lived out all over the world.  As our troops fight for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, they fight with the same blood, sweat and tears which were shed in Europe during World War I.  They fight with the same blood, sweat and tears which fought in Europe and Asia during World War II and in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  It is the same blood, sweat and tears which Francis Scott Key commemorated when the nation was but 38 years into its existence. 

O thus be it ever when free—men shall stand

Between their lov'd home 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 preserv'd 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!

Thank you, Mr. Key. Forever may it wave! 

J. James Estrada    7 4 06
www.jjamesestrada.com

 

The flag desecration amendment vote last week fell one vote short of passage in the Senate, 66—34. A two—thirds majority was required.  As with most things important to the majority of Americans, it did pass in the House.  That stalwart of the Senate, Dick Durbin, D—Ill., who accused our military of performing their duties at the Guantanamo Bay detention center like Nazis, Pol Pot's killing regime and Soviet's in their gulags, voted against protecting the flag.  I wonder if Durbin ever heard of Frances Scott Key?

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Francis Scott Key, sought to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who was captured during the burning of Washington.  Key succeeded in this endeavor after a visit to the British Fleet in Chesapeake Bay.  However, Key was detained on a ship during the shelling of Fort McHenry, which defended the city of Baltimore. The next morning, he saw that the American flag was still flying over the fort.   This attorney and poet immediately penned a poem called 'The Star Spangled Banner' to memorialize the event.

Key's poem, of course, was put to music and has been the country's official national anthem since 1931.  The battle which Key witnessed occurred in September, 1814.  What took Congress so long before designating the Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem?  Perhaps it was because a British composer was the originator of the tune put to Key's words. 

This story is a part of U.S. history.  Every school—aged child is aware of the significance of July 4, 1776, our Independence Day.  However, that 'independence' has had to be defended on many occasions.  This includes a war against France, our ally in the Revolutionary War, during the 1790's.  The War of 1812, once again against the British, was another test of a young nation.  Before the century was out, the Civil War and the Spanish American War were to be waged.

The War Between the States, our greatest test, was costliest, but made us stronger.  It affirmed our most basic beliefs; that all men are created equal and that freedom and liberty is for all.  In this war, the South adopted the banner of the 'Bars and Stars,' while the North retained the 'Stars and Stripes.'  Known also as Old Glory, the American flag is not just a symbol of a nation, it is a defining symbol of freedom.

This July 4th is the 230th birthday of the American dream.  It is a dream that is lived out all over the world.  As our troops fight for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, they fight with the same blood, sweat and tears which were shed in Europe during World War I.  They fight with the same blood, sweat and tears which fought in Europe and Asia during World War II and in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  It is the same blood, sweat and tears which Francis Scott Key commemorated when the nation was but 38 years into its existence. 

O thus be it ever when free—men shall stand

Between their lov'd home 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 preserv'd 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!

Thank you, Mr. Key. Forever may it wave! 

J. James Estrada    7 4 06
www.jjamesestrada.com