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Big Rig

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March 3rd is National Anthem Day!

The American National Anthem was written during the War of 1812. The British had already taken Washington D.C. and had advanced to Fort McHenry. If they took Baltimore, they would cut the country in half. William Beanes, an elderly physician, was on one of the British ships, having been taken prisoner in Maryland.

A lawyer and friend, Francis Scott Key, had come to negotiate his release, and, while they were waiting aboard the British ship, they saw the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Through the night, the two men watched the lights of bombs and rockets, and they knew that the Americans were still resisting. But in the morning it was dark and quiet. The battle was over. The friends waited on the ship for the sun to rise – wondering, in the cool pre-dawn air, which flag they would see over the fort.

It was on this day in 1931, that President Herbert Hoover actually signed the bill that officially designated the “Star-Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States.

By the way – did you know that even while we commonly sing one stanza of the original poem, there are actually three more? In fact, with the NFL protests…it’s the third stanza that causes the problems (as it refers to slaves as expendable).

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watch’d 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,

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, 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—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 wash’d out their foul footstep’s 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.

O thus be it ever when freemen 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 power 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.

photo: getty images

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