I Only Stand!
On September 14, 1814, Frances Scott Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, penned a four-stanza poem called “Defense of Fort M’Henry.”
His poem was inspired by his first hand account of the Royal Navy’s attack on Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812 and by the large American flag “Star Spangled Banner” waiving triumphantly over the fort during that American victory.
Over the years, Key’s poem was put to music and ultimately became “The Star Spangled Banner.” It soon became a very well known patriotic American song that was recognized by the United States Navy in 1889 for official use. In 1916, under then President Woodrow Wilson, a congressional resolution made the song the United States National Anthem.
Unfortunately the national anthem we know today only uses the first of the four stanzas. However, I wonder had the fourth stanza of the poem been used would we still be seeing individuals protesting perceived oppression by sitting down or kneeling during the National Anthem at organized public events.
The fourth stanza reads as such:
O! thus be it ever when freeman shall stand,
Between their loved home, and the war’s desolation.
Blessed 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 out motto – ‘In God is our Trust.’
Since 1775, more than 1.4 million military personnel have been killed in action protecting the very soil we walk on and preserving those very rights that allow each of us to live the life we choose.
To me, standing tall and standing strong in the face of adversity or oppression shows an inner power, an inner strength that cannot be taken from you.
Standing in respect shows a support for those who lost their lives giving you the very freedom to be able to stand.
It is for this reason that I stand for the national anthem.
Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News.