Cover image, origin unknown.
Today, September 14, is the anniversary of the second/third of the momentous events that happened in American history this week in September: the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and the writing of the poem, “The Star Spangled Banner” which became the text of our national anthem in the succeeding decades.
Why was the Battle of Fort McHenry so significant?
Because the flag, the American flag, did not fall and flew through the night.
September 13. The Americans assemble 10,000 men and 100 cannon astride the Philadelphia Road, blocking the British advance toward Baltimore. This is a far stronger defense than the British expect; they are outnumbered two to one. Naval support will be required to dislodge the American forces, and Fort McHenry will have to be eliminated.
The 1,000 Americans at Fort McHenry are commanded by Maj. George Armistead. In the early morning of September 13, British warships begin their bombardment. Because of the shallow water, Admiral Cochrane is unable to use his heavy warships, and instead attacks with the bomb vessels HMS Terror, Volcano, Meteor, Devastation, and Aetna. These ships fire exploding mortar shells at high angles into the fort. Joining them is the rocket ship HMS Erebus, which launches the newly invented Congreve rockets. The ammunition used by these ships later inspire Francis Scott Key’s famous lines “and the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”
Initially the British fleet exchanges fire with the fort’s cannon, but soon withdraw out of range. For the next 27 hours, in driving rain, the warships hammer the fort. More than 1,500 cannonballs, shells, and rockets are fired, but only inflict light damage thanks to fortification efforts completed before the battle. During the night, Cochrane orders a landing party to slip past the fort and attempt to draw troops from the force opposing Brooke, but other than diverting some fire from the fort, this proves unsuccessful.
September 14. That morning the American defenders lower their battered storm flag and raise the large, 30 by 42-foot garrison flag that Major Armistead ordered a year earlier from local flag maker Mary Pickersgill. The garrison flag is raised every morning at reveille, but on this day—September 14, 1814—its presence has special significance.
All those rockets and mortars took their toll on the original Star Spangled Banner. When I first saw it hanging in the main entrance of the Arts & Industries Building (now the Museum of American History) of the Smithsonian in Washington, the flag was still relatively whole. In the succeeding decades, the gunpowder has eaten a good percentage of the material leaving the magnificent flag that flew over Fort McHenry in tatters, a testimony to the fight that night.
More recent photographs are even more depressing.
As to the poem it inspired, Baltimore lawyer Francis Scott Key was one of several prominent Americans being held on a British ship that night to witness the battle.
The lyrics come from the “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. This setting, renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner”, soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being very difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
The tune is actually a drinking song which would explain why anyone thought an octave and four was a tessitura the entire population could actually sing. (For me, it crosses four registers out of eight.)
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 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 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 homes 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!
An additional verse was added at the start of the Civil War, the conflict that gave us the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
When our land is illumined with Liberty’s smile,
If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile
The flag of her stars and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained, who our birthright have gained,
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.
So, for one day, no COVID, no audits, no rumors, no statistics, no letdowns, just a little history.
Okay, maybe one meme.
Something to remember, always.
Per the boss’s instruction:
I’d throw in a few Rockefellers and Rothschilds also.
Of course, this does not mean committing felonies, but standing up to the forces that want to tear this nation – and humanity apart. The very people XVII told us will be destroyed by the time this movie comes to an end are currently roaming the halls of power…supposedly. It’s a sickening sight.
And now for some mood music:
Your weekly reminder to take the pledge, and if the non-mainstream people are to be believed, including Lin Wood, we will need to take this seriously very soon:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
And now for the nitty gritty of the Q Tree 5 minute, stand up, Tuesday morning meeting version of the Daily Thread.
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Fellow tree dweller Wheatie gave us some good reminders on the basics of civility in political discourse:
- No food fights.
- No running with scissors.
- If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
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If you see something has not been posted, do us all a favor, and post it. Please, do not complain that it has not been done yet.
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Thank you so much for any and all attention to such details. It is GREATLY appreciated by more than one party here.
6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, by the power of God, cast down to Hell Satan and all his evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
As always, prayers for the fight against that which seeks to enslave us are welcome. Via con Dios.