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Happy 4th of July

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Visit the Smithsonian Star-Spangled Banner on-line.

The Star-Spangled Banner

by Francis Scott Key

O say can you see, by the dawns early light,
What so proudly we haild at the twilights last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
Oer the ramparts we watchd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets 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
Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foes haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, oer the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the mornings first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battles confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washd out their foul footsteps 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
Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lovd home and the wars desolation!
Blest with victry and peace may the heavn rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preservd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – In God is our trust, 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Music: This 19th century version of the Star-Spangled Banner was performed on original instruments from the National Museum of American History’s collection. Arranged by G. W. E. Friederich, the music is played as it would have been heard in 1854.

Images and music are used with the permission of the Smithsonian Institution.

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Written by Steve Miller

July 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

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