The View from the Hudson
11 Settembre Set 2011 1835 11 settembre 2011

The Home of the Brave

Ten years ago, Conservatives seemed to get it, as we all dusted our flags off -- even silly little ones we bought at long-forgotten parades -- and showed that though we disagree, we are all patriots. To those who think there's only one way to be an American, I urge them to remember not just 9/11 but 9/12.

I've always hated the U.S. national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is in an impossible key, with a rediculous range of notes. The lyrics are about the War of 1812.

Yet somehow today, the rarely seen full version of Francis Scott Key's poem set to a German drinking song seems the best words to fill my little corner of the Internet:

Oh! 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.
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 on 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 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 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.

Oh! thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven 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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