The Fourth Verse

Posted on July 6, 2012 by


If you’ve ever been to nearly any sporting event, you’ve heard our National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner. But that’s just the first verse, which ends with a question.

Take a listen: I Spy Minute Fri July 6, 2012

Or read the transcript below.

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If the British were to take Fort McHenry, the first thing they’d do was run up the British Flag to stop the shelling from the ships two miles away.

From before dawn and long into the night, over 1,500 mortars and rockets were fired on the fort. After twilight, it began to rain, making the night even darker.

And then, after one in the morning, the shelling suddenly stopped. And for several long hours, Francis Scott Key feared the worst.

This is the question in the first verse: Does that star-spangled banner still wave?

Shortly before dawn, the shelling began again.

And then, as the rain broke up, with the sky brightening and the air filled with the smoke from 25 hours of shelling, Major Armistead lowered the rain-soaked storm flag and defiantly raised the 42-foot garrison flag—twice as large as the storm flag.

And as it unfurled in the morning breeze, it gave Key his answer in the second verse.

‘Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave  O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And it will, as long as we follow the message in his fourth verse: In God is our trust.

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