Written and published weekly by Cheryl Johnson, the Musician's Helper
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The Olympics are in full swing this week. These events are something I enjoy watching. Not because I am into sports, but because I love to cheer for my country. There is something that rises up inside when I see our athletes win a competition against another country. My favorite part of the Olympics is hearing my national anthem.
When I think of our National Anthem, I think of what our forefathers did to give us the freedoms we have today. I dare say, that many Americans take those freedoms for granted. What does our flag actually mean? What does it stand for?
Recently, I ran across a video that told the story of how our National Anthem was written. Each line of that song tells part of a story. Francis Scott Key was a lawyer that was commissioned to bargain for the release of prisoners held on a British ship. After the meeting, they had come to an agreement to exchange prisoners on a one for one basis. However, after the end of the negotiation, Key went down to the men on the ship and told them the talks had been successful, they would be released. When he went back up, the admiral came to him and said there was a slight problem. They would still honor the negotiations, but after that night, it would be irrelevant. The admiral explained how the entire British Naval Force was on it’s way and they planned to begin bombarding Fort McHenry. Mr. Key was protesting when the admiral said they did give the patriots an out. All they had to do was to lower the flag that was waving on the rampart and surrender. After waiting several hours, the naval fleet arrived and began shelling nonstop. The flag took many a direct hit but was still standing. Francis Scott Key was reporting to the men below and all they wanted to know was, can you still see the flag? Is it still flying where we last saw it?
Late into the night the raid continued. As the British would fire, all they could see was a red type of glow in the air. Through that, Mr. Key could tell that the flag was still standing. All during the night, the sounds of bombs were heard, one right after the other. The prisoners were praying, God keep our flag standing. About dawn, the bombs stopped. Francis Scott Key looked hard and on the rampart, he saw the flag. The pole was leaning a bit, but the flag was still waving. It was tattered and torn, but still flying. After going ashore, Mr Key inquired about the flag and how it could take many direct hits and still stand. He was shown why. As the bombs hit the flag and it would start to go down, men, who believed in America and what the flag stood for, would go out and hold the flag up. When they had sacrificed their lives, another group would go take their place. You see, freedom isn’t really free. Many gave their lives so that we could have this country. For the flag to remain raised in the sky for the British to see, numerous men gave their lives.
After that battle, Francis Scott Key penned the words that soon became our National Anthem. At first it was published as a poem called, Defense of Fort McHenry. Below is a rare copy of our beloved anthem and the circumstances that caused it to be written.
Now my friends, when I hear that song and see our flag, I cannot help but get chills and tears come to my eyes. Freedom isn’t free and how dare we take these two symbols and treat them lightly. You can purchase a copy of the National Anthem from Amazon.com.
As for the Olympics, I’ll continue to cheer for the red, white and blue. I love my country. God Bless America!
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