Jennifer Smith Garman
February 14, 2011
Meaning of the Past
"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming" (Key, 1814)? This is the opening line to The Star Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. It is said that Key was inspired to write what is now are national anthem while at the Battle of Baltimore, during the War of 1812 (Smithsonian Institute, 2011). Imagine a war torn Baltimore, Maryland. Bombs going off, fire everywhere, and a huge garrison American Flag flying overhead as proof that the Americans are still holding their ground. As a veteran of the first Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I have seen our flag flying over battlefields and I can say that it brings much comfort to the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen who are fighting to uphold democracy and freedom. The words of the national anthem have great meaning to those of us who have served our country, and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.
The first line of The Star Spangled Banner "Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming" (Key, 1814) literally means is the flag that was flying high when the sun set still flying overhead the next morning. It is important to see the flag still flying come dawn; it means that we held our ground overnight. For me, the American Flag is a great symbol of home while serving in foreign lands and seeing it flying shows that the United States is still fighting strong.