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RHYMES AND REASONS
O Say Did You Know Our National Anthem is 200 Years Old?
It's the Star Spangled Banner's Bicentennial

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
September 12, 2014

O say did you know that a key long ago 
is what opened our patriot praise?
Anchored far out at sea, Mister Francis Scott Key
saw Old Glory still flying unfazed.

O say can it be that a lawyer like he
could describe what he saw with such grace?
Like the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air
as he watched our flag stationed in place?

O say have you heard (though I think it absurd)
that his poem was set to a tune
used for hoisting an ale when old sailors set sail
on a voyage in search of doubloons?

O say can you see that this song of the free
is deserving our time to reflect?
It's two hundred years old, yet it glistens like gold
and its full text we tend to neglect.

Have you ever read all the verses to our National Anthem?

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 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?

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!

O 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!

 




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