Something to think about  

micahbiguns 51M
1308 posts
5/2/2006 12:32 pm

Last Read:
5/3/2006 10:58 am

Something to think about

America's immigration debate is now a fight over the national anthem. Late last week, a British music producer living in the United States released "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem," a Spanish interpretation of America's "Star-Spangled Banner." I have to ask myself why can these fine people not learn it in english.

The rhetoric bombs have been bursting in air ever since. The song's producer says it "affords those immigrants that have not yet learned the English language the opportunity to understand the character of the Star-Spangled Banner." President Bush says that immigrants "ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English." I for one agree with the president on this.

What better way to understand the importance of our national anthem than learning of its origin. So here it is please pardon my imposing a history lesson on you.

When Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) strained to see whether the U.S. flag was still flying over Fort Mc Henry on the morning of September 14, 1814, he wasn't just a curious bystander. He was a prisoner of the British navy.

How did he become a prisoner of the British navy? Why did this Washington, DC, lawyer have a front-row seat to observe one of the Wars most important battles?

Because of a client one Dr. William Beanes, whom the British had imprisoned after they captured and burned the U.S. capital in August 1814. Key had negotiated the release of this elderly Maryland physician.

Key accomplished this with the help of John Skinner, a U.S. government agent who served as a liaison to the British forces.

Under a white flag of truce, on September 7th, they approached the British fleet and made their case for Dr. Beanes. While the British agreed,they also decided that they had seen too much of their preparations, for the attack on Baltimore. Therefore they were not to be permitted to return home until after the battle.

The British attack on Fort McHenry began early on September 13 in a pouring rain. All through the day and into the night, rockets and shells battered the fort at Baltimore Harbor. The British ships carried mortars that could lob shells over a target from over two miles away. The shells then exploded above the heads of the Americans in the fort, raining shrapnel down on them. Fires raged wherever these shells landed. Over 1,800 bombs were fired at the fort. The U.S. commander estimated that 400 fell within its walls

Key watched the battle illuminated by what he later called "the rockets' red glare." On the morning of September 14, as the shelling stopped, the Americans watching must have feared that the commander of the fort had surrendered. It was then they saw the American flag was still flying triumphantly over the battlements. British commanders had judged Baltimore too costly a prize and ordered the withdrawal of their forces.

Key, an amateur poet, pulled an old letter out of his pocket and scribbled a few lines on the back. He continued to work on the rest of the verses. A few days after the battle, he showed his poem to some friends. One of them took it to the office of the Baltimore American newspaper, where it was printed as a broadside and distributed under the name "Defense of Fort M'Henry" to the fort's garrison.

More than a dozen newspapers, beginning with the Baltimore Patriot on September 20 and the Baltimore American on September 21, reprinted Key's poem over the next few weeks. It was noted that the words could be sung to a popular tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith, whose melody had become a sort of theme song for a gentleman's club (called the Anacreontic Society) that met in London in the late 1700s.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" gained popularity over the years, particularly in the North during the Civil War. But the song did not become America's national anthem until 1931, when Congress made it so. In 1949, Congress decreed that a flag fly continuously at Key's birthplace in Maryland A fitting answer to the question raised by Key in his first stanza. "O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?" I am proud to report that to this day it continues to do so.

m1903a3 59M

5/2/2006 2:53 pm

PERFECT! A nation is defined by its borders, language and culture. So many people forget that. They also forget that this nation HAS a unique culture. When our ancestors moved here from (insert country here ) they learned to speak english and adopted American customs and culture and were proud to do so. There is nothing wrong with remembering and celebrating your roots, but if your going to be American, then BE AMERICAN!
I chose to not be an Irish-English-German-Cherokee. For one thing, that's too much to write on an application. I'm proud to be American.

TTigerAtty 62M

5/2/2006 6:02 pm

Great post! Best I've read today! I loved the history lesson! I agree with you and m1903a3. I suspect 99% of Americans agree with you too! So, what is it going to take to get our politicians to quit pandering to illegal alien immigrants and start serving those who have elected them? Must we all join the 'Minutemen' and show them what happens when there's a real boycott and a real demonstration?!

micahbiguns 51M

5/2/2006 7:21 pm

m1903a3 Well said I could not agree more

I am unsure what it will take but that might be the answer

tillerbabe 56F

5/3/2006 12:34 am

Interesting outlook...I have to think about this, I'm still unsure of my stand... Thank you!

micahbiguns 51M

5/3/2006 10:58 am

tillerbabe Glad you stopped by. Everyone has to decide what they belive,otherwise we would be clones or robots yuck

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