The Star-Spangled Story

By Joshua David Ling

[The following may be sung to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner]

In the midst of a war for our freedoms and rights-
For the conscience of man and pursuit of our hap’ness
Continental men sought for release of their friends.
So they chose them a man to negotiate releases.
It was Francis Scott Key who would take up this deed
And barter prisoners so their men would be freed,
For no Continental should despair or cave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

So onto the ships in the harbor, he went
And amicable were their negotiations.
One man for one man, was the deal that they struck.
And he told the prisoners they’d return to their station.
But the captain informed Francis of the great storm
The armada of Britain soon would be born
Over the harbor to fight and break
O’er The land of the free and the home of the brave.

“But the fort that you sack-” Francis then did protest
“Has few soldiers there. It is mostly civilians!”
But on deaf ears this fell. The siege it was set
Relentless attacks would befall that pavilion
‘Til lowered by guards were the stripes and the stars
Or all of the soldiers laid in their graveyard
So Francis told all of the prisoners to pray
For the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The fight had begun, in the midst of the night
With minimal warning or real preparation.
Francis watched from the ship staying close to his men
And relaying all sights by his own observation
Then by candlelight, and the roar of the fight
He penned out a poem that millions recite
And here are the words he wrote and portrayed
O’er The land of The free and the home of the brave.

O 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 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,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

And while in the night, the dark brooding bombast
Let up very little against the Americans.
Francis quietly prayed, as did all of the troops
Deep inside of the ship, they lifted petitions
Then Francis he heard, the cannoneer’s words
Train all their dread fire, on the flag. They concurred.
And they prayed that the star spangled banner yet waved
O’er the land of The free and the home of the brave.

Many sing this anthem but do not know the tale,
They do not know the dark, the unsettling suspension
As Francis Scott Key and his prisoner soldiers
Waited hoping that God, would give them attention
Then the red light of dawn, it grew slowly warm
On horror? Or victory? Would the sun’s light be drawn?
And In Francis’s words, now hear what he gazed
O’er The land of The free and 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 and the home of the brave.

On return to the fort, the men all rejoiced
But worried for that which the war had ta’en from them.
Midst the joy and the hope, Francis saw a great sight
In full glory of daylight that eased trepidation
The flag It stood tall, o’er The top of the wall,
Tattered and crooked, but seen by them all
And a third verse to his poem, he wrote and portrayed
O’er 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 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.

And what did they see when they entered those walls?
A bloodied and broke but unbowed populace.
And hundreds of dead strewn as seed by the shock
Their echoing cries, freely go down to abyss
But beneath the flagpole, laid a mountain of souls
Who held up their hopes, and refused to let go.
For no bloody tyrant should ever hold sway
O’er The Land of the Free and the home of the brave.

Should the deeds by these men be lost due to time?
Should the valor and cunning God produced in great droves
Be held in some case in a museum’s walls?
Or should echo the cries of those men in our throats?
There’s only one King over all Earth we sing!
And His name is Christ and forever he’ll reign.
And the fourth verse from Francis this truth does purvey
For the Land of the Free and the home of the brave.

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!

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