The Star-Spangled Banner begins:
“O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming…”
There is, of course, a great deal of bad information being spread around about the entire song, and this has become a reason for some really dumb protests.
Rather than address all the bad info, I am going to provide you some good info about a certain aspect of the battle that was occurring as this poem was being drafted up.
It was the summer of 1814, and we were at war with the British. The Royal Navy was very powerful, and provided the British with the ability to move their forces up and down the coast, concentrating their power to hit us, thereby making us react to them.
This was good for them, bad for us.
Specifically, the British had just attacked Washington, DC, and burned the city. Now, they were closing in on Baltimore. A main defensive point protecting Baltimore was Fort McHenry.
The fort had been reinforced by sinking a few ships in the waters nearby. This would help keep the Royal Navy from slipping past. If the Royal Navy attempted to go past the fort, their ships would come under fire from the fort’s guns, and that would be costly. The Royal Navy needed to somehow silence Fort McHenry’s guns; essentially, they had to get the garrison to surrender.
At the time, not only did the British warships have cannon, but there was also a ship armed with rockets and several armed with mortars. They could dish out quite a bit of punishment, but Fort McHenry’s fortifications had also recently been upgraded right prior to the battle, so the fort could take it.
The British got in close, hammered the fort with rockets and mortars, then went back farther out, out of range of the fort’s cannon, and began to bombard the fort for the next 27 hours.
If the American fort surrendered, Baltimore would get burned. But, the other option was to just sit there and take it – the British ships were too far away for the Americans to effectively fire back.
So, the Americans had to sit there and get blasted. And, since they did not surrender, the British warships had to eventually sail off, because if they tried to just sail past the fort, the British ships would get hit by the American cannon. And that would mean the British ships would get sunk, with great losses among the men embarked on them.
It was an example of one side winning the fight simply by not giving up. It is not uncommon that victory goes to the side that simply refuses to quit.
I mention this because conservative America is under attack today. We face attack from the radical left, from radical militant Islam, and from a whole plethora of other enemies. As we watch our culture get not just ridiculed, but destroyed, sometimes it seems like all we can do is take it.
The night seems dark, and we are under constant bombardment. But, America is worth defending, and when daybreak’s first light allows everyone to distinguish the truth from all the evil lies, let everyone see that we still fly the same flag that we proudly flew before the attack began.
If all you feel you can do is take it, know that you are defending America honorably and well by refusing to give up.
And know also that as long as they continue their attacks on conservative America, that means that conservative America is still here, and a threat to them, just as our mere presence has been a threat to tyrants throughout history: their bombardment means our flag still flies high.
“Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d 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?”