If you've been following along with my blog over the years, you may know that I have a penchant for the Patriotic.
My Sister has it too. We met up this weekend (in the middle of our two geographic locations) at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. We think it is our Father's influence. (His ancestors fought in both the Revolutionary War era as well as the Civil war.)
What makes Fort McHenry so special is its special place in history. It is the home of the Star Spangled banner.
It all began with the War of 1812. ( I have also grown to love history as well. I think being a lover of antiques helps.)
Anyway, the War of 1812. This yet another set of skirmishes with the British.They had already claimed Washington, burned the White House and more, and were now setting their sights on Baltimore. The only way they could do it was to take down Fort Henry.
Our soldiers worked hard and prepared for battle against the world's strongest military. They were ready.
The battle lasted 25 hours. Then, the Brits finally ran out of mortars and rockets. Through the fog of war, literally, the Americans waited to see if they would be attacked again.
That morning, Francis Scott Key, a young lawyer, was watching for a sign of who had won. He waited to see which flag had been raised.
He describes that moment in his poem:
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?
(This is the flag that currently flies over Fort McHenry.)
Below is the actual flag that is now sitting in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
In a few years we'll be heading down to D.C. to
see it in person to give Bebe a better look.
Here are the rest of the verses in Key's poem.
Scroll down to the last stanza if you don't feel
like reading the whole thing. (But it is interesting.)
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!
Take note of the third to last verse.
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
I'm carrying on the triumphant wave.... I hope you will too.
This weekend we also went to see the new movie "America." It was a very good documentary about the indictments people make against our country, but it also made many good arguments about what makes America special. Really special. As in, once you leave these borders, you are not in Kansas anymore... as Dorothy used to say. We are living in the only "land of the free" on the planet.
When the movie was over, the audience applauded. When the lights came on, I saw that my husband and I were the youngest people in the theater.
It saddened me because I realized it is the younger generation that need to see the movie. Not my generation and the one ahead of me. We already know what makes America special.
(A close up of the young men in the
fife and drum corps playing at Fort McHenry)
When the movie comes out on DVD I encourage you to buy it and share it with the younger set. They need to see it.
(Visitors at Fort McHenry take part in a flag
demonstration and tour.)
Links to more Information:
A website with great facts about the flag and what happened to it:
Fort McHenry: CRWFlags.com
The Fort McHenry Website:
I love these kinds of movies! I watched the John Adams series a few times over the years - love it!
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