For the Upcoming 4th: The Star Spangled Banner

I rarely see the full text of this poem, and even more rarely hear all the verses sung.  When the poem was morphed into the National Anthem, “Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land” was one line left out.

I am sure the edits were partly necessary for the sake of brevity, but would it not change the tone of our anthem to have had all the lines included?  Would singing the complete poem make a difference in how we perceive ourselves as a country?  The Anthem is so ingrained in our minds from childhood on up that surely the words must matter.

Ironically, too, we often think of The Star Spangled Banner in connection with the Revolutionary War.  However, the poem was actually inspired by the War of 1812. It was not adopted as the National Anthem until 1931.

How many of us know the history of the song? I know I had to review.

The Star Spangled Banner

by Francis Scott Key

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, through 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 through 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?
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, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream :
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! O 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 homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for 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!

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