America's Christian History

The Poetry Page

Poetry to warm your heart, to inspire and encourage!

A good poem is like an old friend. It warms the heart, encourages a smile, wipes a tear and reminds you about the important stuff of life.†

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The Star-Spangled Banner!


Great Poetry about our Great Country!

Who knows all the stories behind the poems and songs we sing?  This is one about a young girl and her mother who worked all night....but let the biographer of Francis Scott Key tell you the whole story.  If you look at this monthís calendar, you will find that this occurred in 1814, the 1st - 5th of September, shortly after the capitol had been burned by the British.


After the burning of Washington but before the bombardment of Fort McHenry.... Brigadier General John Stricker and Commodore Barney... asked a widow, Mary Young Pickersgill, to make a flag for Fort McHenry, her mother having made flags during the Revolutionary War.  She was related to both Stricker and Barney. 


Mrs. Pickersgill went to work with a will.  She was given help by her little l4-year-old daughter Caroline. 


First they had to cut pieces of red and white and blue from four hundred yards of bunting. It was a mammoth flag which the officers asked the woman to make - 29 feet from top to bottom and 36 feet in width. 


Where is Beauty - Great poetry to warm your heart"The flag being so very large," Caroline recalled when she was 75 years old, "my mother was obliged to obtain permission from the proprietor of Claggett's Brewery, which was in our neighborhood, to spread it out in their malt-house, and I remember seeing my mother down on the floor placing the stars.  ...The flag I think contained four hundred yards of bunting, and my mother worked many nights until 12 o'clock to complete it in a given time." 


Night after night through the hot weather the widow and her daughter Caroline crawled over the big flag, and stitched the colored pieces together.  Just a widow and her little daughter crawling at night on the floor of a brewery-but helping to write an anthem destined to be enshrined forever in the hearts of the American people. 


And when it was finished, this enormous ensign of freedom had fifteen stripes of alternate red and white; and a field of blue, with fifteen white stars.  This was the national banner, intended to inspire the patriotism and the courage of the people.  Each of the stars measured two feet from point to point.  It was a flag that could be identified for many miles around.  And when it was accepted it was hoisted on a tall staff that stood behind the guns of Fort McHenry. 


Francis Scott Key and Dr. Beanes were prisoners on a ship in the harbor from which they could see Fort McHenry being bombed. 


"Can you see," Dr. Beane kept asking nervously, " the flag?"


Suddenly there was a rift in the clouds.  The flag was still there!  Key took a letter from his pocket and on the back of it jotted down a rhyme that poured from his soul in a song of thanksgiving.  Later, having been released and gone to an inn he penned the final text of his anthem of patriotism.




O say can you see by the dawn's early light; 

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, 

Whose broad stripes & 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 & the home of the brave? 


On the shore dimly seen through the mists 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 in the stream, 

'Tis the star-spangled banner -O long may it wave 

O'er the land of the free & the home of the brave!


And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, 

That the havoc of war & the battle's confusion 

A home & a country should leave us no more ? 

Their blood has wash'd 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 in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free & and the home of the brave.


O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov'd home and the warís desolation!

Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heavín-rescued land

Praise the power that hath made & preserved 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

O'er the land of the free & and the home of the brave. 


Mr. Pickersgill and her daughter Caroline along with Francis Scott Key did more, however than create a flag and a song.  A motto was created that is still on nickels and dimes whenever you spend them, a motto that reminds us that this country has always honored Jehovah God for the motto is: In God is our trust.  Think about all this each time you spend a nickel or a dime!


Quoted from Delaplaine, Edward S., Francis Scott Key-Life and Times, American Foundation Publishers, Stuarts Draft, Virginia, 1998, pp.159-170. You can see a picture of the flag in this book. It looks a little "shell-shocked."

Question: From the beginning the colonists "entertained," as Samuel Adams stated an "affection for the mother country." What made the colonists change their minds?


Answer: British Tyranny! Taxation without representation, then Britainís attempting to disarm the colonists ended with her attack on Lexington and Concord. 

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