13 Responses to The Star Spangled Banner-Boston Style

  • Oh, I hope that people remember to sing it so well together always. Thanks for the recording. I have avoided the takeover by pop star/entertainer ‘performances’ for years. Now, what’s the purpose of that chandelier ?

  • Who were the morons whistling while the anthem was being sung? I’ve heard British soccer hooligans doing this, but only to the opposing team’s anthem, never their own.

  • Congratulations to Rene.
    He removed himself and the graces flowed.
    Thanks Donald.

  • I don’t get it. Celebrating martial law, unconstitutional searches, military troops acing as domestic police, domestic police acting as military troops, illegal and unconstitutional restrictions on the movement and activity of American citizens, a city emptied at the order of The State, commerce and free exchange halted by government….these are causes to celebrate?

    American liberty was born in Boston, and it’s death throes are now being seen in Boston a little over 200 years later, and their citizens respond with a rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Well, not this citizen. Ben Franklin told us “those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for security will have neither”.

    So it is true, liberty dies not with a whimper but to the roar of the crowd, a crowd of Boston sheeple.

  • Utter rubbbish. Typical police measures were used to deal with a terrorist action. The Founding Fathers did far worse in the Revolution to Tories siding with the British. Ben Franklin, who you quote, applauded the imprisonment without charges of his own son, the Royal Governor of New Jersey, during the Revolution. In the time of the Founding Fathers the captured terrorist could look forward to a quick trial and a quicker execution. Where do you get your history from? The Daily Paul?

  • I wonder if the Bostonian Irish-Americans, who by their generous donations to Noraid funded terrorist bombings in other people’s cities, are having second thoughts now that they have experienced terrorist bombings in their own.

  • Perhaps Brits now regret that whole Strongbow business also John?

  • Strongbow was a 12th century Norman baron. In fact, we Brits are so resentful of what happened after 1066 we’re going to set off bombs in Rouen.

  • “Strongbow was a 12th century Norman baron. In fact, we Brits are so resentful of what happened after 1066 we’re going to set off bombs in Rouen.”

    I have no doubt you would be doing so John if the French still ruled part of England, or if the French had ruled England, as England ruled Ireland, until 1921.

  • Whether it’s Boston, Belfast or Birmingham, this kind of atrocity cannot be justified whatever the perpetrators’ grievances, real or imagined, are. Those who support these acts are morally culpable. The people killed and maimed by devices left in pubs and shopping centres associated Strongbow only with a brand of cider.

    My comment was intended ironically, and I resent the implication that I would countenance indiscriminate terrorist acts against innocent civilians.

    And Strongbow would have stayed in Wales had not the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough, invited him and his knights to invade.

  • “And Strongbow would have stayed in Wales had not the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough, invited him and his knights to invade.”

    And that justifies some eight centuries of tyranny over the Irish John?

    “My comment was intended ironically, and I resent the implication that I would countenance indiscriminate terrorist acts against innocent civilians.”

    Do you then wish to register your strong opposition to the British policy of nighttime bombing over urban areas during World War II John? I believe “dehousing” was the euphemism used.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehousing

    As it happens I am opposed to the current incarnation of the IRA due to its Marxism and also because I realize that as long as there is a majority Protestant population in Ulster re-unification is impossible without a bloody civil war. However I will never allow anyone to condemn IRA bombings without a review of the Anglo-Irish history that led to such bombings.

  • One of the reasons PIRA split from the ‘Official’ IRA was that the latter was seen to be Marxist. And PIRA, not OIRA (although it had its own splinter group, INLA) was the ‘motor’ which drove the Troubles. The loyalist terror groups were mainly reactive, more openly sectarian, and less well organized. If you concede the point that terrorist bombing can be justified by history, then logically you can’t condemn Al-Qaeda terrorism either – in their case the history is even more recent. You or I might see the US as the ‘good guys’, but the Palestinians and the Moslem world generally are not of this opinion.

    The conflict of 1968 -1997, its origins, course and ultimate resolution, has been trawled over and reviewed from all angles, mostly by investigative journalists of every political shade. I followed it closely throughout, and Ed Moloney’s ‘Secret History of the IRA’ filled in a lot of gaps, particularly with regard to the genesis of the ‘peace process’. Some aspects will probably never come to light, but there is enough out there to go on, although it requires an open mind and an ability to distinguish facts from propaganda. One thing stands out – the PIRA bombing campaign, apart from its intrinsic immorality (which was condemned by the Church) not only failed in all its objectives, but was actually counter-productive.

    For the record, I believe the Allied policy of saturation bombing, particularly towards the end of the war, was indeed immoral, and even Churchill (who endorsed it) later had misgivings. This doesn’t detract from the bravery of the aircrew of Bomber Command, whose losses were horrendous, and who were never awarded a campaign medal.

O Say Can You See?

Saturday, May 19, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  The Star Spangled Banner.  Often assailed by critics as unsingable, too war-like and on other grounds,  I love it and I am proud that it is our National Anthem.   It is an interesting song for a national anthem in that the first stanza, the one we all attempt to sing, has an important question at the end of it:  Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?   That particular question has to be asked by each generation of Americans, ours no less than the generations who came before us.

Here is a superb video giving the historical back ground behind the writing of The Star Spangled Banner:

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24 Responses to O Say Can You See?

  • Bless them all.

    Today is the third Saturday, 19 May this Year of Our Lord 2012.

    It is for the Top One-Percent of Americans and their relatives Armed Forces Day.

    For many, it will not be parades or receptions. It will be a day of combat operations.

    And, some may give the last full measure of devotion for you and me.

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • Interesting, I didn’t know that what we sing are only the first and last stanzas of the poem. In 1931 those who adopted it as our national anthem accepted the lines
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

    Were there no editorials, no ranting letters to the editor, no demonstrations or marches protesting that these words and sentiments indicate a national belief in God and his providence (which somehow deprives citizens of the ‘right’ not to believe?).

    That led me to google Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus which appears at the base of the Statue of Liberty. It also had stanzas I had not remembered. It reflected an openness to the idea of the immigration of poor people to this country in search of a land of opportunity on the other side of the golden door.

    How many today consider that God made and preserved our nation and praise Him for that? How many consider America a land of opportunity where those who come here to work hard will succeed and will enrich the nation.

    This is not to belittle the real sacrifices of the armed forces and their families. It’s just my reflection on how our national ideals have changed over time.

  • That marine’s words could be taken seriously, that second verse could be printed along with the first verse, handed out and sung at church picnics and family gatherings and sporting events.. I wish it would be so.

    He mentioned educating our children– we learn so much in musical mode! we learn our alphabet that way– putting those ideals and hopes to words and to music gives us a better chance of surviving as America.

  • . . .
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Bravery is the way we all – in our differences of opinions and maintenance of private lifestyles – can grow beyond the rising tide of the word war being waged on all elements of society. The melting pot will crack and the over boiled contents will go to waste.

  • I don’t remember ever singing this is with a crowd and not have tears forming in my eyes. It’s so sad that it has become a solo performance. When only one person sings it, it loses some of it meaning.

  • These lines have a special meaning on September 11:

    “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

    And forgive me for altering the lyrics, but on September 11 I think it appropriate to sing:

    “Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous flight.”

  • Time for alll nations to re-write their anthems that glorify the “War is Hell” anthems and encourage our leaders to wage peace.
    In earlier days the leaders lead the troops, today the poor are the troops, lead by the social elite who command from behind desks and computers. Visit their graves on high holidays and ignore the medical needs of the survivors.

  • Waging peace? Why didn’t I think of that! (Don slaps forehead.) Of course, all we need is to “give peace a chance”! Thanks for that insight APO!

  • a bit of sarcastic humor I think, Mr. McClarey, which I appreciate. At the same time there is a real need to discuss this at depth, since so many people hold the positions roughly outlined by O’B.
    After all, as JPII said: “war is always a defeat for humanity.” (to the Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See in Jan. 2003)
    I personally disagree with O’B ‘s comments about our anthem– heck, I even like that bloody “Marseillaise”. I do think we have to fight wars, and rarely use capital punishment. However I also think we could really look at some of O’B’s implied point about poor people becoming our soldiers for lack of better employment, and also his point about caring for injured veterans and survivors.

  • I found Mr. McCleary’s comments immaturely offensive and sophomorically dismissive. The “war is hell ” quote came from Sherman in the US Civil War. The US is flat broke now and being deserted by its former allies in practice, including the new president of France after a short Sarcozy honeymoon and kissy-kissy after the USA arrogantly dismissed “Old Europe ” under Mr W. and villified France and “French fries” even.
    The world since has realised the US did it to itself and is broke financially and moraly as world leader, apart from the Gay;POTUS and his VP and their pro-death in the womb stance and efforts to change the furst Amendmenr. AND still sin by backing nazI-gestapo SS tactics of Israel’s ruthless leaders against the entire Gaza Strip because of the many whose frustrations with the take-over in 1948 still festers and causes untold horror and violence. And returned with helicopter gunship fire indiscriminately all over their old people and children and other innocent non-combatants. The Brits tried that in the McCleary homeland and gave jus trying to kill all Catholics who were real and imagined enemies of their fake tax-supported Six Counties whose protestant leaders hate both them and “Red Socks,” the Bishop of Rome, equally now after the Parliament got tired of their whining “loyalty” and it changed tactics to allow peace to blossom.
    ANY US CATHOLIC, individual or magazine writer who has read JESUS Beatitudes and St Augustine’s Rules for war could find little justiication for WW11 AND none for SE Asia. Cenrral America and messing with Chile and Gulf 11and its aftermath that will continue there after everyone leaves is living in a make believe world of computer games, not REALITY. .

  • “I found Mr. McCleary’s comments immaturely offensive and sophomorically dismissive.”

    Not bad, you managed to mispell my name but you did manage to correctly spell sophomorically, although I haven’t been a sophomore in decades.

    “The “war is hell ” quote came from Sherman in the US Civil War.”

    Actually the quote is from a speech that Sherman gave at the Michigan Military Academy after the War:

    “I’ve been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
    Suppress it! You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!”

    Of course that sentiment did not prevent Sherman from regarding the Civil War in which he fought for the Union as a completely just and necessary war.

    “AND still sin by backing nazI-gestapo SS tactics of Israel’s ruthless leaders against the entire Gaza Strip because of the many whose frustrations with the take-over in 1948 still festers and causes untold horror and violence. ”

    When in doubt, blame the JOOOS!

    “The Brits tried that in the McCleary homeland and gave jus trying to kill all Catholics who were real and imagined enemies of their fake tax-supported Six Counties whose protestant leaders hate both them and “Red Socks,” the Bishop of Rome, equally now after the Parliament got tired of their whining “loyalty” and it changed tactics to allow peace to blossom.”

    My homeland is the United States. The homelands of my ancestors, aside from the Cherokees, are Ireland and Scotland. The peace was worked out by two men, Winston Churchill and Michael Collins, who both knew something about successfully waging war.

    “ANY US CATHOLIC, individual or magazine writer who has read JESUS Beatitudes and St Augustine’s Rules for war could find little justiication for WW11 AND none for SE Asia. Cenrral America and messing with Chile and Gulf 11and its aftermath that will continue there after everyone leaves is living in a make believe world of computer games, not REALITY. .”

    I assume that you are referring to World War 2 and not World War Eleven. I disagree with you about World War 2 and Vietnam not being just wars from the US perspective. I rejoice that the people of Central America did not have Castro style regimes imposed upon them. In regard to Chile, we had no involvement in the coup that toppled Castro’s pal Allende. In regard to Gulf War I, as opposed to Gulf War Eleven, I view that conflict as completely just from the US perspective.

  • more smart alec comments. Your pro-war atttitude is so non-catholic and un-Christian. The reference to the Civil War and the Sherman quote did not need a professiorial correction, you are not in the academy as a teacher, I said the MCCLEARY, proper spelling of that name, sorry I got yours wrong, HOMELAND is as I suggested IRISH, SCOTS which is also the LATIN for the IRISH, the SCOTTI. I am of Eastern Meditterranean Irish, and Scots (maternal) extracion myself. You missed my reference to the Brits making peace, that was the modern N IRISH 1969-recent years, not the horse’ buttocks compromise made by the treachery of Churchill and the compromise that still divides Ireland politically and emotinally. I did not attack or insult JEWS. i REFERRED to the ISFRAELI army and its political manipulators, not the religion of most of its citizens. I have traveled there and spent time as a journalist there and in N Ireland and keep up with the ex-ISRAELI officers and soldiers who are disgusted at the crud they had to do and witness. I have also traveled in South America and extensively as a pilgrim and sometimes tourist and journalist all over Europe and am quite familiar with the hatred of the USA for its war-mongering. Bush W could not do a book signing in Dublin and was torn apart for his defence of his Gulf war 11. Native-son Reagan was heckled in Galway for his policies in C America when he did not visit to his ancestral homeland
    MY MAIN POINT is valid. Read, or re-read Augustine’s Rules for war AND the Beatitudes and pray about it all. Do not reply again on here with your arrogant, “mind made up” do not confuse with facts” scribbling and petty corrections (11 for II and such) Bring it to JESUS in prayer. And please include me.You may also check what General Eisenhower, after he left the presidency and LBJ said about war and its cost. Peace 11 U.

  • “more smart alec comments.”
    Remove the alec and you are correct.

    “The reference to the Civil War and the Sherman quote did not need a professiorial correction, you are not in the academy as a teacher”

    Not, but on this blog I am always willing to instruct the historically ignorant gratis.

    “I said the MCCLEARY, proper spelling of that name,”

    No, I assure you that the proper spelling of my last name is as I spell it.

    “You missed my reference to the Brits making peace, that was the modern N IRISH 1969-recent years, not the horse’ buttocks compromise made by the treachery of Churchill and the compromise that still divides Ireland politically and emotinally.”

    You of course are referring to the peace of Ireland of 1921 that gave the Irish their first independent state since the seventeenth century. There was nothing treacherous in the peace worked out by Churchill and Collins, but was rather a compromise as most peaces are. Churchill understood that it was not worth it for the Brits to try to retain Ireland outside of Ulster. Collins realized that the IRA lacked the strength to drive the Brits from Ulster and then win the ensuing war with the Ulster Protestants that would have immediately erupted.

    “I did not attack or insult JEWS.”

    Yeah, because no one associates Israel with Jews. Got it.

    “all over Europe and am quite familiar with the hatred of the USA for its war-mongering. ”

    There are few people in Europe who do not owe what peace and freedom they enjoy to US “warmongering”.

    “Native-son Reagan was heckled in Galway”

    Somehow that doesn’t surprise me since Galway is attempting to put up a statue to Castro’s hangman Che Guevara.
    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/12/honoring-a-murderer-in-galway/

    “Read, or re-read Augustine’s Rules for war ”

    My constant study, along with Saint Thomas Aquinas’ variant and the variants that have been proclaimed at different times by the Church. Anyone who believes, as you do, that World War 2 was not a just war for the US obviously could use a refresher course.

    “Do not reply again on here with your arrogant, “mind made up” do not confuse with facts” scribbling and petty corrections”

    Sorry, I hadn’t noticed that you were one of the owners of this blog. Hey, wait a minute..

    “Bring it to JESUS in prayer.”
    Indeed I do, as I bring all things to Jesus prayer.

    In regard to Eisenhower quotes:

    “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
    striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
    hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
    In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
    other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
    machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
    Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

    Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
    equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

    But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
    1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
    in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
    strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
    Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
    of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
    The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to
    Victory!

    I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
    battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

    Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
    and noble undertaking.”
    ? Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • I think “The Star Spangled Banner” is a fabulous national anthem. Great musically, uses classic English – much better than some of the” lingo-speak” we hert today which passes as English, and shares the birth pangs of a nation fighting for its identity and self reliance.
    Some of the European national anthems are great musically but the words don’t mean much. 😉 ( to me anyway)
    Our national anthem is actually a hymn, written in the 1860’s I think, in the South Island city of Dunedin, during the early days of settlement and development in NZ. Ii always preferred it to “God Save the Queen” – the English national anthem which we used – much to the annoyance many Kiwis, up unitl, I think the early 1970’s before “God Defend NZ” became our anthem.
    Thanks for the history lesson ( again 🙂 ) Don. I’m surprised that it wasn’t installed officially though, till 1943.

  • The words to My Country T’is of Thee, sung to “God Save the Queen” are very meaningful to me– I usually start to cry when I get to “I love the rocks and rills, thy woods and temples hills”; but by the time I get to “my heart with rapture thrills like that above” I’m pretty enthusiastic! – and the last verse:
    Our fathers’ God to Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing.
    Long may our land be bright,
    With freedom’s holy light,
    Protect us by Thy might,
    Great God our King.

  • My sainted mother Don was always fond of God Save the Queen, as she was also fond of the Queen.

  • This one’s for you, Don the Kiwi!

  • I hope someone can help me with my concern about the Yemen Al Queda’s ability to almost get another underwear bomb on a plane, foiled by a double-agent, how long more will their technicians be able to achieve that? More of a concern is that they were able to use their now infamous suicide bomb tactic to kill 86 soldiers. Is there some planet or a County in the USA or the UK where the unemployed could be forced to enlist to become the counter-terrorist force there as NATO and Co are pulling out of the failed efforts to destroy them in Iraq and Afghanistan? We can also hope that there will be no sleeping, too-trusting US President or UK PM who might sell out the area to the Enemy, whomever that may be. And still be able to borrow money from China to pay for it all.

  • Thanks again Don. Brought a lump to my throat 🙂

    A line up of some incredible Kiwi manhood there – the 2011 All Blacks.

    The Rugby World Cup final against the French last year was a great game – we won, but the French certainly were very worthy oponents. They always seem to lift when they play us.
    The All Blacks won, but it was a nail biter right to the last minute.

  • While we’re getting all nationalistic and sentimental, here’s the full version of our National anthem. Some beautiful wording.
    The history can be found on Wikipedia.

    God of Nations at Thy feet,
    In the bonds of love we meet,
    Hear our voices, we entreat,
    God defend our free land.
    Guard Pacific’s triple star
    From the shafts of strife and war,
    Make her praises heard afar,
    God defend New Zealand.
    2
    Men of every creed and race,
    Gather here before Thy face,
    Asking Thee to bless this place,
    God defend our free land.
    From dissension, envy, hate,
    And corruption guard our state,
    Make our country good and great,
    God defend New Zealand.
    3
    Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
    But, should foes assail our coast,
    Make us then a mighty host,
    God defend our free land.
    Lord of battles in Thy might,
    Put our enemies to flight,
    Let our cause be just and right,
    God defend New Zealand.
    4
    Let our love for Thee increase,
    May Thy blessings never cease,
    Give us plenty, give us peace,
    God defend our free land.
    From dishonour and from shame,
    Guard our country’s spotless name,
    Crown her with immortal fame,
    God defend New Zealand.
    5
    May our mountains ever be
    Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
    Make us faithful unto Thee,
    God defend our free land.
    Guide her in the nations’ van,
    Preaching love and truth to man,
    Working out Thy glorious plan,
    God defend New Zealand.

    Its obviously too long to be used in its full length, – but I particularly like the last verse to be used in the usual 3 verse rendition of the anthem.

  • I like the style of the NZ anthem, praises the normal, the natural beauty and invokes God. My earlier references to Ike and war implied his famous farewell reference to the dangers of the military-industrial complex. Then his statement at one point that a nation needs violence for self-defence then moved on to advocate peace and stability. Jesus was the icon of the invisible God as Paul tells us, all humans are made in God’s image and likeness. Using our men and wmen as fodder in wars whose winners are never really known has not done much for the life, treasure and stability of the world for a while. The war to end all wars fathered another one. Trying to wipe out threats to economics/capitalism/God’s/Side, political ideology, onto more defeating of communism, and defeating terrorism is a spiral that seems to have no end. More so now as NATO exits the Coalition and the seeds of the next conflict, and possible 9/11 ~ Two or a real shoe bomb expolsion is not improbable. As experts warned after 9/11, the question was not whether, but when. .

  • “My earlier references to Ike and war implied his famous farewell reference to the dangers of the military-industrial complex.”

    I understood your reference, and it is directly contradicted by much else that Eisenhower said throughout his career. During his administration Eisenhower opposed building up conventional forces due to cost and favored a policy of massivenuclear retaliation in the event of conflict with the Soviet Union and the use of battlefield nukes to make up for the relatively weak US conventional forces. The issue of a weak US military was a theme that Kennedy used relentlessly during his campaign in 1960, much to Eisenhower’s considerable annoyance. His reference to a military-industrial complex, was actually a slap at the incoming Kennedy administration and his Democrat Congressional critics.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/gregory-hilton/ikes-farewell-address-liberals-are-wrong-about-the-military-industrial-complex-b/10150140028336028

  • I have been reading “Mindzenty the MAN” today and can’t help but wonder as I read the words of both Mr. Mac and Mr. O’B. I wonder about Eisenhower and about war, what I should believe about generals and politicians and war in the late 40’s and 50’s in eastern Europe, (specific Hungary). What good influence could Eisenhower have had if he had really wanted to… back at the end of the war and the fall of Berlin to the Russians.
    I’ve got a little prayer book “Mary Save Us” smuggled out from Siberia that was handwritten and tied together by a young woman, a catechism teacher from Lativia during her imprisonment in Siberia. It still startles me that growing up in the 50’s and 60’s I was really so unaware of what was going on in Russia and China. (South America too)
    Yes war is hell… there was also hell for millions of people during the “cold” war. I don’t know what the right answers are.

  • I appreciate the context of Ike’s comments, that was before my time of course but the quote is cited quite regularly at the end of various daily posts of meditations and uplifting thoughts. The one about use of violence as a prelude to stability/peace is also used. I am still a Jesus pacifist, irrational as it seems as the alternative seems not to work whether for spear chuckers or nuclear threats of MAD. Peace- BTW the original form of the family name is O’CLEIRIGH. descendant of CLERIC, also known as Clerk, same idea, they were the only educated ones. It is spelled CLERKIN in the North of Ireland and in the ROI as CLERY, CLEARY, they made our boarding College school blazers!

Dedicated to the Fighting Patriots of Goshen College

Sunday, August 28, AD 2011

“Pacifists are the last and least excusable on the list of the  enemies of society. They preach that if you see a man flogging a woman  to death you must not hit him. I would much sooner let a leper come near  a little boy than a man who preached such a thing.”

                                                     G.K. Chesterton

I just hope the version with lyrics below will not be deemed too militaristic:

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21 Responses to Dedicated to the Fighting Patriots of Goshen College

  • I will not defend the Goshenites on moral or political grounds but they are right that “The Star Spangled Banner” is a horrible song and “America the Beautiful” is far superior. It is unsingable and if you put a gun to the average American’s head I doubt he could explain what the lyrics refer to.

    If we had no anthem and we taking nominations I doubt the “Star Spangled Banner” would even occur to anyone. I would go for “God Bless America” (shot down by the deophobes), “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (unacceptable to Southerners) or “America the Beautiful”.
    I hadn’t thought of “Ain’t that America” — it does seem a bit informal but it would be cool to her it sung at the Olympics!

  • The unofficial anthem of the country was the forgettable tune Hail Columbia until 1931, and is now used when the Vice President stumbles into view.

    If the Star Spangle Banner could not be our national anthem, I would stump for some variant of the moving hymn Eternal Father:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnm-4kSLKdI&feature=related

    In regard to the Star Spangled Banner your critque Thomas is not an uncommon one. For myself, when I hear it I get goose bumps and when I attempt to sing it, and it is a difficult song to sing, I have a grand time. Time for an encore of the Cactus Cuties:

  • “America the Beautiful” is far superior.

    Often there is no accounting for taste.

    The best:

  • Don:

    With all do due respect have you examined the Mennonite’s rational for this refusal to play the national anthem beyond what the talking heads on Fox News may have said.
    I found the following article from a Mennonite minister and found it very compelling:

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/26/my-faith-why-i-dont-sing-the-star-spangled-banner/?hpt=hp_c1

    The minister states:

    “Because they understood the exercise of state power to be inconsistent with the church’s identity and mission, Anabaptists also advocated for the strict separation of church and state. This then-radical stance was prompted by both theology and necessity: Anabaptists had the distinct notoriety of being tortured and killed by both Catholics and Protestants wielding the power of the state against them.

    “Instead of compromising their core convictions about what it means to follow Jesus, thousands of Anabaptist men and women adhered to their freedom of conscience even as they were mocked by neighbors, burned at stakes and drowned in rivers.
    “Although there certainly are diverse viewpoints among individual Mennonites today, we continue to advocate for the strict separation of church and state. Most Mennonite churches do not have flags inside them, and many Mennonites are uncomfortable with the ritual embedded in the singing of the national anthem.

    “That’s because we recognize only one Christian nation, the church, the holy nation that is bound together by a living faith in Jesus rather than by man-made, blood-soaked borders.

    “To Mennonites, a living faith in Jesus means faithfully living the way of Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies and he loved his enemies all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Jesus and the martyrs before us, we testify with our lives that freedom is not a right that is granted or defended with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. True freedom is given by God, and it is indeed not free. It comes with a cost, and it looks like a cross.”

    There is nothing in their rational that contradicts Catholic teaching or is not consistent with Catholic teachings. It is not inconsistent with the Church where there are not U.S. flags in the sanctuary or where secular patriotic songs are not sung during a Mass. It is not inconsistent with the Church which made Saint Maria Goretti, the patron saint of forgiveness, one of the most important saints after WWII. It is not inconsistent with the Church in which Pope Pius XI when proclaiming the Feast of Christ the King said:

    “ The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God’s religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result.”

  • I vote for the Star Spangled Banner, girls.

  • Oh, I am quite familiar with the pacificism of the Mennonites and other minor Protestant sects Eva. They enjoy freedom and peace here in the United States due to others throughout our history paying with their blood. Other than those who are willing to risk their lives as medics in a non-combatant role, Seventh Day Adventist Desmond T. Doss, awarded the medal of honor, is a shining example, I share Chesterton’s contempt for their doctrine.

    I believe that the Catechism amply demonstrates that pacificism is a doctrine foreign to Catholicism:

    “2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge.”

  • “It is not inconsistent with the Church where there are not U.S. flags in the sanctuary or where secular patriotic songs are not sung during a Mass.”

    Actually I have never lived in a parish where patriotic songs such as America the Beautiful, the Battle Hymn of the Republic and others were not sung on occasion during Mass. When I was a boy it was the custom in most parishes to have the US flag and the Vatican flag in the sanctuary, and some still do this.

  • The practice is very common hereabouts. There is a variation of it in Anglican parishes as well. I have never cared for it.

    And I think your ‘contempt’ is overdone. Mennonites and Amish make a point of living very much apart from the larger society and partake of it as little as they can manage to earn a living. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not abstain to that degree, but they very seldom manifest much in the way of personal ambition. I think the question you have to ask is the degree to which they are truly detached from their lives when push comes to shove. It is difficult to know that in advance. (I think with politically-engaged Quakers, you are on firmer ground).

  • “Mennonites and Amish make a point of living very much apart from the larger society and partake of it as little as they can manage to earn a living. ”

    The Amish I grant you Art, but much less so the Mennonites. My point still stands however that their lives here would be impossible but for others shouldering the burden they are unwilling to shoulder.

  • I like “Hail Columbia”. I, for one, am sorry to see it relegated to such a state in which it currently suffers.

    That said, my preference for the National Anthem would definitely be “America the Beautiful” …

    … but only if they always played THIS version of it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFMqrRW-FQU

    “…and y’all? ought to love Him for it…”

    (While I do appreciate the “Star-Spangled Banner” for what it is, the melody is a too-difficult-to-sing drinking song titled “To Anachreon in Heaven”, and the subject matter is rather limited to the flag as opposed to the Nation the flag represents. “America the Beautiful” – listen to ALL the verses – captures the essence of this Nation.)

  • I would have to vote for “America the Beautiful” also, not only for the elegant simplicity of its melody but also its better lyrics — for example, contrast Verse 3 of Star Spangled Banner:

    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 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
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    with Verse 3 of America the Beautiful:

    O beautiful for heroes proved
    In liberating strife.
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America!
    May God thy gold refine
    Till all success be nobleness
    And every gain divine!

  • Aw, how can you not love “Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution”? When else do you get to sing that?

  • The fourth stanza Elaine of the Star Spangled Banner I have always found very moving:

    O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n 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 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.

  • I might add that the third stanza has always warmed the cockles of my Irish heart!

  • Then again, after 9-11 Queen Elizabeth order the Coldstream Guards to play the Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace, something which had never occurred before:

  • My favorite verse of America the Beautiful, until Dan Rather ruined it for me, was always this one:

    O beautiful for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears.
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.

  • Love this verse, too (in fact, the entire song is just a wonderful reflection on the Nation and really should be our National Anthem):

    O beautiful for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern impassion’d stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness.
    America! America!
    God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.

  • Agree with Chesterton – he certainly knew how to put things.
    Pacifism – the last retreat for the coward. Afraid they don’t get any sympathy from me. I get annoyed by people who try to say , “Jesus was a pacifist.” (gag) One does not need to be a pacifist to promote and love peace, but one has to have a sacrificial heart to live Peace.

    I think “The Star Spangled Banner” is a tremendously stirring song. That is what national anthems should do – inspire patriotism and pride in one’s country – prepared to defend the country and all its people from agressors etc. etc.

    “I vow to Thee my Country” was actually taken from the 1999 Rugy World Cup theme song in Wales, wasn’t it? 😉
    A local musician has used the tune to a beautiful hymn to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Its a great piece of music.
    Actually, our own “God Defend New Zealand” isn’t too sketchy either. Trouble is, nowadays, everyone has a version of it, and even though it was written in English back around 1860 by a Catholic migrant to NZ, our P C society has allowed it to be hi-jacked by a maori language version in the last 10 years, which is played in tandem with, but in front of the english lyrics, and which to 80% of the country becomes a bit trite.

  • As for pacifism as a Christian belief, I am more in agreement with C.S. Lewis’ view of pacifism as expressed in Mere Christianity: “War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I believe he is entirely mistaken. What I do not understand is this sort of semipacifism you see nowadays that says that while you have to fight, you must do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it.”

  • I have no beef with what the Mennonites are doing, but that probably stems from knowing a lot of them in central lower Michigan while growing up. Good folks, and scrupulously honest–a young Mennonite lady smacked into my car while it was parked while I was at work back in high school. She immediately sought me out and told me about it. Hardly a given, even back then. Let alone now.

    I prefer TSSB, but have to admit AtB has been growing on me over the years. “Battle Hymn” is perfect for the sword-sharpening moments we sometimes find ourselves in. Real or figurative.