Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Yesterday I went to church with my family. What a change from attending service in Iraq with camouflage and machine guns. I couldn’t have been more grateful. My cup of joy was filled to the brim and overflowing.

Since it is Memorial Day weekend, our congregation sang patriotic hymns, including the majestic Star-Spangled Banner. We all stood up to sing. I couldn’t get through the first line without getting choked up. I thought of Johnny. He didn’t make it home to see his wife and his children.

While repeating the words by rot in my mind, tears flowed all down both cheeks. I couldn’t sing. I cried like a baby. Only the people on the stand could see me. Our Bishop told me afterwards that seeing me wipe my tears away got him choked up too.

For those who are unaware of the history of the words penned by Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), it is something to learn. I won’t go into that now, but suffice it to say, I’ve spoken to groups about patriotic themes in the past, and the attack on Fort McHenry as well as the creation of Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights which are among my favorite topics. In fact, later this week, I’m speaking to kids at school about the flag and the wonderful things it represents.

We often don’t sing the other verses of The Star-Spangled Banner. Here are the words of the third verse:

Oh, thus be it ever,
When free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace,
May the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made
And preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just,
And thus 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!

1 comment:

bwebster said...


Actually, that's the fourth verse of The Star-Spangled Banner. The LDS Church dropped the 3rd verse in the 1985 edition of its hymnal, likely because the verse says not-so-nice things about the British. :-)

But that 3rd verse has new meaning today:

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!

For what it's worth. ..bruce..