11.11.2009

Arise and Know

Thank you Veterans. Our debt owed to you is far too great. God bless you and your families for your sacrifices. Let's go with the Star Spangled Banner in tribute of this special day...

I cannot hear the National Anthem without getting choked up. In high school I was in two choirs. I was fortunate to learn from two passionate directors who would help us study the words of the songs we were learning to sing. We would go through the words and our director would explain the meaning and purpose of the song; why it was written. Some of us would cry as we sang these songs because it meant something to us...they became powerful. Since then, those lessons have stayed with me and I enjoy contemplating the meaning of a song.

Let's take a brief moment and study history and meaning of the Star Spangled Banner...The war of 1812, America and Britain were again at odds, not even 3 decades after America declared her independence. Our young country was battling it out with the British Empire and by mid 1814 they had suffered much defeat which left Americans demoralized and uneasy. On August 24, 1814 British troops marched on Washington and set fire to the Capital building and the White House. This shocking act stunned Americans and left them to wonder what would become of their glorious country that they had already sacrificed so much for. On September 13, 1814, British warships began firing bombs and rockets at Fort McHenry, which protected the city's harbor, lasting 25 hours.

"By the “dawn’s early light” of September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key, who was aboard a ship several miles distant, could just make out an American flag waving above Fort McHenry. British ships were withdrawing from Baltimore, and Key realized that the United States had survived the battle and stopped the enemy advance. Moved by the sight, he wrote a song celebrating “that star-spangled banner” as a symbol of America’s triumph and endurance." www.americanhistory.si.edu
"Then in that hour of deliverance and joyful triumph, my heart spoke." -Francis Scott Key recalling the morning of September 14, 1814.

So why do I feel so much emotion when I hear or sing the National Anthem? I don't know, maybe it is because I am proud of what those words represent. Maybe I am thinking about September 11th or about the brave men and women at war now overseas or those who have given their lives in the name of freedom. I might be thinking about what my children's future will be like, will they have the same kind of freedom and opportunity that I have been so blessed to have all my life? Maybe I am remembering my visit to Arlington National Cemetery, when I wondered what happened on that very soil I was standing on during the founding of our nation. But I do know this...when I hear or sing the last words of the National Anthem "land of the free and the home of the brave"...it penetrates me to my very core. I don't know about you, but knowing what those words represent, makes it that much sweeter.
Click on "Arise and Know" to watch one of my favorite performances of our National Anthem.

1 comments:

Nicole said...

What do you think of when you hear our National Anthem?