The Last Verse

[274 words]

In 1814 Francis Scott Key had been negotiating the release of an American from the British Fleet. Key was successful and was only allowed to return to his ship, yet not allowed to leave the fleet because he had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and their intention to launch an attack upon Baltimore. That night he was unable to do anything but watch the bombardment of Fort McHenry. He would write a poem about his experiences that night. These lyrics were printed in local newspapers and set to the tune of an existing song called Anacreon in Heaven. From that would come our national anthem.

Because of this, we are very familiar with the first stanza of the song but it actually has three verses. Let me share with you the last verse:

“O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d 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 preserv’d 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.”

For Francis Scott Key the victory wasn’t about the nation, but the God that saw them through. 

As we spend time in celebration and remembrance of our nation let us never forget the words of Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”

Barry Haynes
Hope church of Christ
Hope, AR

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