So Glad To Be An American
A recent Marist poll found that only fifty-eight percent of United States residents knew that America declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. “Twenty-six percent were unsure, and sixteen percent mentioned another date.”
The younger the person polled, the less history they knew about the country. (~*source CBS news)
The Fourth of July or Independence Day, is the National Holiday in the United States that commemorates the Declaration of Independence that was signed on July 4 in 1776.
The Declaration stated that the original thirteen American Colonies that were under British authority: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, would be free from British rule and would no longer be subjects to George III, the King of England.
The Continental Congress declared that the royal colonies would now be the thirteen united, free, and independent states of America.
If the Marist poll is correct, then it would appear that my mother in law and her British friends, know more American history than most Americans!
When I was a child, I remember that we learned in school the songs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” by Samuel Francis Smith and “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key.
Every morning we stood up and prayed the Lord’s Prayer as a class. Then we put our hand over our heart and sang the song “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee,” as we stood before the American flag that hung in our classroom.
We were to remember solemnly how important a privilege it was to be a citizen of our great country where we had freedom to pray and vote and do things that perhaps other people in other countries did not have the freedom to do.
We were to thank the Lord for our sovereignty and for the soldiers who had given their lives in battles fought long ago and not so long ago to obtain all of the wonderful freedoms we enjoyed.
For we were taught that it was the Lord Almighty who had given them the victory in the wars they fought to obtain the liberty that America was famous for.
We were known as America the Beautiful. The land of the free. The home of the brave.
Ours was the nation of the strong and courageous men and women who had fought so bravely in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and World War I, and WW II, and the Korean War and various other wars to obtain and maintain the freedoms we enjoyed in our great and noble country.
We were to honor these brave souls and to remember them as we recited the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” and as we memorized and sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
This was a daily ritual.
We truly loved and honored our flag which was the emblem of our country.
As a child I imagined all the vivid battles in my mind as we sang the hymns in honor of the soldiers who’d given their lives to obtain our autonomy as a nation.
Each of the songs sparked my young imagination with all of their vivid imagery.
The Psalmist counsels parents and grandparents to teach their children about the wonderful things God has done for them lest they forget.
Unless we read the heroic poems, songs, and ballads written of old that describe how our freedoms and victories were obtained by those who fought for it; where our independence came from, and why our ancestors sought for it, how can our descendants know the truth of our history?
For example, do our children understand or even know that many of our own ancestors came to these shores seeking religious and economic freedom?
A couple of days before the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams (1735-1826) -member of the Continental Congress, first Vice President under President George Washington, and the second President of the United States 1797-1801) wrote to his wife Abigail:
“It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance,
by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.
It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade,
with shows, games, sports, guns, bells,
bonfires, and illuminations,
from one end of this continent to the other,
from this time forward forever more.”
The people of the Colonial Period and the Revolutionary War sought full autonomy from the British crown. They fought and prayed long and hard for their independence. They trusted and believed in the Almighty for their ultimate deliverance.
This was well known and believed by our ancestors who lived through those times which is witnessed by their writings which they have left us.
We would do well to remember and pass along to our children their testimony. For the Psalmist admonishes parents to teach their children about the past.
“My people, listen to my teachings. Listen to what I say. I will tell you a story. I will tell you about things from the past that are hard to understand.
We have heard the story, and we know it well. Our fathers told it to us. And we will not forget it. Our people will be telling this story to the last generation.
We will all praise the Lord and tell about the amazing things He did. He made an agreement with Jacob. He gave the law to Israel.
He gave the commands to our ancestors. He told them to teach the law to their children.
Then the next generation, even the children not yet born, would learn the law. And they would be able to teach it to their own children. So they would all trust in God, never forgetting what He had done and always obeying His commands.
~Psalm 78:1-7 - ERV (Easy To Read Version Bible)
Lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) (Inspired by the War of 1812)
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 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 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.
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.
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes 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!
(*Key observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812. He was inspired upon seeing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn and wrote the poem "Defense of Fort M'Henry"; it was published within a week with the suggested tune of the popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven".
Additional Civil War period lyrics
Eighteen years after Key's death, and in indignation over the start of the American Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. added a fifth stanza to the song in 1861, which appeared in songbooks of the era.
When our land is illumined with Liberty's smile,
If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile,
The flag of her stars and the page of her story!,
By the millions unchained,
who our birthright have gained,
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.
The song with Key's lyrics became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and slowly gained in popularity as an unofficial anthem, finally achieving official status more than a century later under President Herbert Hoover as the national anthem. (*source~ From Wikipedia)
Lyrics for the Hymn by Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895) America (“My Country ‘Tis Of Thee”) sung to the tune of “God Save the Queen”
My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From ev'ry mountainside, Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills, Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees, Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break, The sound prolong.
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 newest card in the digital card series, “So Glad to Be An American” is now available for purchase in the Digital Collection. Click on the link to see it. Digital cards are perfect for attaching to emails and texts as you would other images you send your friends and loved ones. Or adding to your desktop as wallpaper. Or downloading and printing to add to your scrap-booking projects. You may even think of other uses for them. Consult our digital rights limitations of use agreements before purchase if you have any questions about restrictions. Thank you for your interest in our products!
Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Davis Harden, Peaceangelsongs Gifts, All Rights Reserved.
Internet Sources: Wikipedia, Maris Poll, CBS News, (ERV) Easy To Read Version Bible, King James Version Bible (KJV)
*May Christ be Honored.
Accomplished through the living Resurrected Christ within me, Inspired by the power of His Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father, in Jesus name, amen.