jump to navigation

A Jewish Answer to Left-Wing Anti-Americanism: Read the Star Spangled Banner June 18, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in American history, Chrisitanity, culture war, freedom, God, liberalism, politics, war.

I received an e-mail today from Professor Paul Eidelberg. His valuable contributions to America’s understanding of her original principles are of inestimable worth. For example, Prof. Eidelberg wrote a series of books on American constitutional government. Several noteworthy titles are The Philosophy of the American Constitution and On the Silence of the Declaration. One of his more recent books is entitled A Jewish Philosophy of History. Prof. Eidelberg is also founder of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy headquartered in Jerusalem.

The reason I’m posting his e-mail in its entirety is not because of his accomplishments or intellectual contributions, but because of his love of G-d. his abiding respect for America, and his consistent defense and promotion of right political and social principles. Oh, I almost forgot; I think some readers might find his understanding of America’s national anthem interesting.

What prompted Prof. Eidelberg to write about America’s national anthem? “In view of (1) the multiculturalism sweeping across the United States, (2) the spate of atheistic books now being published in that country; (3) the anti-Americanism propagated by many universities and many mosques, copies of this email should be disseminated as widely as possible, especially to: The judges of the United States Supreme Court, members of Congress, university presidents, and prominent immigrant organizations.”

In an effort to spread the spread the vital message about America’s need to understand the history and meaning of our national anthem, the following is Prof. Eidelberg’s informative communique.

Star Spangled Banner

Unless you know all four stanzas of the Star Spangled Banner
you may find this interesting. Perhaps most of you didn’t
realize what Francis Scott Key’s profession was or what he was
doing on a ship. This is a brush-up on your history.

(Editor’s Note- 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 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 I 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.

(Emphasis are mine, the moderator.)

I find it interesting that the last two and usually three stanzas of our national anthem is rarely sung or heard. If a Jewish professor observes the need for America’s key leaders to learn what is of central importance to our national existence, what does that say about the rest of Americans citizens–you and I. I must admit that I did not know the the last two stanzas. I did not realize God was regarded as central to our victory in the War of 1812. The fact that this song became America’s official anthem is more evidence that our nation was a Christian nation.

Technorati Subscribe by Email Permalink



1. totaltransformation - June 26, 2007

“Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto –”In God is our trust.”

I second that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: