4th of July

No matter how you may spend your 4th of July in the United States – barbecue, potato salad, sweet tea, green bean casserole, cherry and blueberry pies – it usually ends with fireworks and song.  As many soldiers and civilians gave their lives to establish the land of the free and home of the brave, this day of celebration is also held in due reverence.  The words penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814 (The “Defense of Fort McHenry” illustrate the memories that brought (and defended) the United States of America’s independence.

So if you didn’t know all of the verses by heart, feel free to follow along:Defense of Fort McHenry

“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, 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 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 vict’ry 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!”

Conduct (in the USA)

During his national anthem or pledge of allegiance, a Gentleman stands, removes his hat, and places his right hand over his heart until the last note is played.  If he is of current or past military service, he will salute accordingly.

Francis Scott Key, The Star Spangled Banner (lyrics), 1814, The National Association for Music Education
Photo: Parade.com (Above), Smithsonian (Right)
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