When I first started writing this, I was analyzing the National Anthem and breaking its meaning down bit by bit. I read so many different articles and perspectives from so many different historians, but I needed to draw my own conclusion as to what the “Star Spangled Banner” really stood for.
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!
Many “Americans” don’t even know this verse exists in their precious “Star Spangled Banner”. During the War of 1812, when this poem was written the British used German Hessians as mercenaries and promised runaway slave their freedom for assisting them. Some historians have said that ” no refuge could save the hireling and slave” refers to those mercenaries and British prisoners of war. I call, BULLSHIT! Why oh why would that line be about prisoners but specifically use the word slave? Essentially this line just says ” fuck you mercenaries and slaves that’s what y’all get “, its taunting and boastful. But then again that’s what it means to be an America.
The Star-Spangled Banner became America’s official national anthem in 1931 almost a decade after it was written. It was used as a battle song along with other songs like Yankee Doodle Dandy. Why was a battle song the one that was chosen to represent the United States? Why? Well since America’s birth in 1776, we have been involved in a war 222/239 years or 93% of the time. Maybe this is why our country has never had peace, facts show that in reality, we aren’t a peaceful country.
Describing the United States as a country of peace is now almost laughable, more like braggadocious. Which ironically is why in 1941-42 it became standard to play the National Anthem during baseball games. The best article I read was by ESPN authors Luke Cyphers and Ethan Trex , “The Song Remains the Same”. They describe the National Anthem as “a taunt, a lyrical grenade chucked at a defeated opponent. “See that flag still flying, the one you tried to capture?” it famously asks the British. Then it answers: “Scoreboard.”‘
We glorify the National Anthem because it represents the United States. We hear it play at sporting events and on military bases. How can people expect for a country who has only been “peaceful” 7% since its birth, to accept a peaceful protest such as #takeaknee, #blacklivesmatter, #womensrights, #slutwalk?
“Our nation honors war. Our nation loves sports. Our nation glorifies winning. Our national anthem strikes all three chords at the same time.” Maybe its time for a change in the narrative of what the United States stands for, maybe its time to play a new chord.