The Star Spangled Banner, Our National Anthem

The Star Spangled Banner

I found this in my email archives and it is an excellent patriotic piece. I don’t know who wrote it so I hope I’m not stepping on any toes. I DO love my country.


Near the end of his life the great science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote a short story about the four stanzas of our national anthem. However brief, this well-circulated piece is an eye opener from the dearly departed doctor……

I have a weakness — I am crazy absolutely nuts, about our national anthem. The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I’m taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time.

I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem — all four stanzas. This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. “Thanks, Herb,” I said.  “That’s all right,” he said. “It was at the request of the kitchen staff.”

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas. Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before — or had never really listened. I got a standing ovation. But it was not for me; it was the anthem.

More recently, while conducting a seminar, I told my students the story of the anthem and sang all four stanzas. Again there was a wild ovation and prolonged applause. And again, it was the anthem and not me.

So now let me tell you how it came to be written.

In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved
in an American war.

At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession.

Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack.

The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England.

The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west.

The central prong was to head for the mid Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong.

The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D.C. Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1,000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort.

On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release.

The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start.

As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.

As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, “Can you see the flag?”

After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called, “To Anacreon in Heaven” — a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key’s work became known as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.

Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key;

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 rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ 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?

“Ramparts,” in case you don’t know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort. The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer:

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist 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!

“The towering steep” is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure. In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise.

During World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is:

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 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.

The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen 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, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto –”In God is our trust.”
And the star spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears. And don’t let them ever take it away.


And when you sing it, give it all the patriotic reverence and gusto you can and don’t worry if you can’t sing on key. It’s all about the anthem anyway.

Love the good ole USA!


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What God Can Do With 57cents

This is from my email archives, so I wanted to share it. If you purchase the book and read it, I suggest that you read it all the way through before you decide whether you disagree (or agree) with it. It is very compelling reading. The beginning was a little boring, I thought, but when I kept at it, I found it to be encouraging toward understanding more about having and getting wealth.

Wealth is not a nasty word. It takes wealth for many good works to be done on this earth. It takes wealth to pay for printing Bibles. To pay for air-time for Christian radio and TV. For political campaigns – for Godly, Christian politicians. To support Christian organizations that feed the poor here in America and around the world. To build Christian schools. These are just to name a few things that requires some amount of wealth.

And to correct a misconception about wealth from the Bible, it is the love of money that is the root of evil. Money itself is not evil. It is simply a tool that we use while we are here on this earth. If we allow money to become a god and we love it above the true and living God, then we sin against God. That is idolatry, to have other gods before/above our God.

Wealth is good if we remember always to keep it in its place, as a tool to be used to accomplish good works here on this earth. God knows we have needs and He knows that we have to pay for the things we need and want. He is not opposed to us having things, as long as our “things” don’t have us. He wants to bless us. If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to us His children. Matthew 7:11  God wants us to have a home for shelter, food to nourish our bodies, clothing to cover our bodies. Our God is not a stingy, selfish God. He is GOOD and He delights in blessing His children.

We must keep ourselves in check, that we do not allow money to rule over us and be our god. If I thought I couldn’t be disciplined enough to make certain that I didn’t love money more than I love God, I’d rather be dirt poor. But I know that I can put my trust in God to keep me protected from that sin. I love the Lord my God first. And I know that money is a tool that I use to pay for things I need while I live on this earth.

Here’s the story.

A little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was ‘too crowded.’

I can’t go to Sunday School,’ she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.

Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.

As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.

Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: ‘This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.’

For two years she had saved for this offering of love.

When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.

He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there….

A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.

When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.

Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00–a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300. And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.

Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday school building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, ‘Acres of Diamonds’.

This is a true story, which goes to show WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH 57 CENTS.

Hope you all enjoy this coming Independence Day weekend. I am so thankful for our freedom, that we still enjoy.


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A New Reading List

I seem to always have a reading list. Now I have a new reading list.

books to read

sorry about the distortion of the photo

There are many more that I have added to my library that I want to read but I have to make my list attainable, right. I wish I could have a month off work, to stay in a cabin in Branson, to read.

The pink dots are the books I’ve indexed in my card file (ok, typed onto a spreadsheet). I still have more work to do on that.

Anyway, there’s also my Kindle library.

Kindle books to read

I’m currently reading a Kindle book, “How God Taught Me About Prosperity” by Kenneth E Hagin. I love the Kindle because those books also load onto my SmartPhone. I usually don’t take my Kindle with me away from home, but I always have my phone with me. I can read when I’m standing in a long line or at lunch, when I take a lunch, or a break.

I think I’ll read “The Circle Maker” next. The cashier at Mardell’s said it’s very good. Silly me, I forgot that I had already purchased it on my Kindle. That’s okay. It was on sale at Mardell’s for $5 so I bought an extra one for a sister. I still love a paper book and I am trying to build a library.

Let me share a memory from about 40 years ago, back when I was still in high school. I was invited to a Bill Gaither concert at a church and afterward, several of us went to the parents home of one of the girls in our group. We were served refreshments in the father’s library. It was filled with Christian books. Back then, when I was a young immature believer, I wasn’t interested in reading Christian books. But I’d sure love to have those books that were in his library, or at least have a list of the books he had collected.

I love reading, especially Christian books. And most especially the Bible.

Think I’ll get myself to bed and try to finish reading the Kindle book so I can start The Circle Maker.

God bless you all. I hope He gives you a love for reading too.



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Produce Market

I made a trip to one of our local produce markets on Saturday. I was hoping to get a yellow meat watermelon, my favorite watermelon. They didn’t have any yet. I learned that the yellow meat watermelons won’t be ready until July. They need high temperatures and we really haven’t had that yet this season.

I did pick up a few things while I was there, of course. Tomatoes. Yellow squash. Avocado. Pink Watermelon.

from the produce market 01


yellow squash



Friday I bought some wheat buns, onions, zucchini, oranges.

I took two of the zucchini and cut them in half long ways. Rubbed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked them for 20 minutes. Then I sprinkled some grated parmesan cheese and topped that with shredded 6 Italian cheese and baked them for another 20 minutes. I sliced one of those tomatoes and served with some chicken tenders. Delicious.

I cut the rest of the zucchini up to freeze for soups this winter.

I plan to dice the onions to put in my freezer for soups or meat loaf.

Today, I cut one of the wheat buns in half and buttered them and put them under the broiler to toast them, then topped with tomato slices with salt and pepper. YumYum.

wheat bun

I’m working on filling the deep freeze for the winter with vegetables and fruit that we like. I’m putting my FoodSaver to good use. I stocked up on bags and I’m ready to put away a whole lotta good, fresh produce.

I’m also buying up chicken to freeze. Since it’s just husband and myself, I only need portions for the two of us. Maybe I can find a place to get healthy (natural) chicken in bulk. We eat a lot of baked chicken. And I put chicken in my vegetable soup in the winter.

I love going to the produce markets. Next I want to get strawberries and blackberries.

I keep thinking about those tomatoes. They sure were good. I’d love to can some but I haven’t done any canning, on my own. When I was a young teenager, us girls helped Mom do the canning. We had a large garden and we canned everything we harvested out of our garden plus what we bought from other farmers. We didn’t can corn though. We froze our corn. Garden fresh ALWAYS tastes best. And it’s more economical.

Maybe I’ll go to Sprouts this week and see what I can pick up to freeze.

How are y’all enjoying the summer so far? It really hasn’t been too bad down here. We haven’t reached 100 yet. Got close yesterday – 97. Sure could use a lot more rain. I love it when it rains.

I guess I’ll say good night so I can get off here and do some reading, catch up on my favorite blogs. Y’all have a blessed week.



Posted in Home & Garden | Leave a comment

Hi There

Long time, no see. Well, I guess I should say “long time, no read” since I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I haven’t even had time to read my favorite blogs lately. Well, I have a few that I pop on as often as I can but I am so missing my blogs. Thinking of taking my laptop to bed with me and read til about 3am or until my eyelids won’t stay open.

My job has changed a little bit again. Another new route. I wanted a bigger route and I’m sure I’ll like it. Sadly, one of my co-workers got laid off today. I feel so bad for her. She’s a single mom with 2 daughters living at home. One still in high school and the other working and in college. Would you say a prayer for Kim, that she will find a good job quickly?

I bought some sweet smelling cantaloupe a couple days ago. Didn’t get to cut it up until tonight because church ran a little long Wednesday night, and husband worked late last night so I met up with a friend after work and I didn’t get home til late myself. Oh, it was so good.


First cantaloupe I’ve bought this season. I think I’ll go to the open air market tomorrow and get a yellow meat watermelon and some strawberries. I prefer my fruit fresh, not cold. Husband is the opposite. He likes his fruit cold.

I guess I’ve got a sweet tooth this weekend ’cause I made a Cherry Cheesecake. This time I actually put the cherries on it. Always before I’ve put the filling on top and thrown the cherries away. After all these years I had no idea that husband likes cherries. He has never  said anything. I found out that I like cherries too. Well, I like cherry pie filling. I wasn’t all that fond of fresh cherries. Been married 23 years and I’m still learning things about my husband. I love it.

Earlier this week I bought something else that struck my fancy. I had a craving for roasted marshmallows so I bought a bag of the big marshmallows. Not the jumbo mallows. I still haven’t roasted any yet but I think I might open the bag tomorrow.


They brought back fond memories of a hayride and weeny roast and marshmallow roast at a big bonfire. In Illinois. About 40 years ago. When I was in high school. I think that was the only hayride I ever went on. It was in the autumn, at night of course. A horse drawn wagon. It was just chilly enough to have blankets to cover us.  A lot of high school kids. We sang songs and laughed a lot. It was so much fun. Wouldn’t mind doing that again. Well, maybe not the hayride but the bonfire and weeny/marshmallow roast, in autumn.

Yep, I’d enjoy that.

It finally got up to 91 this week. That’s really not all that bad, considering that by now it’s usually 110. And I love that it cools down pretty good at night. This is the most calm summer I can remember since I was in my twenties. I will say I’d like to have more rain. The lakes here about have gone down so low that it could rain for a month before they would fill back up.

Husband is asking for me to come to bed so I’m going to say goodnight and take my laptop to bed and do some reading.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!



Posted in Reflections | Leave a comment