Independence Day. The 4th of July. America’s birthday! They all describe the same thing… the unforgettable day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was signed and our great nation was born.
It’s a day filled with picnics and barbeques, parades and parties. A day to spend with family and friends as we shoot off fireworks and say, “Woo-hoo, I’m proud to be an American!”
We have so many blessings and freedoms here in America, and the 4th of July is a wonderful way every year to honor and celebrate what our forefathers did for us and what God continues to do in blessing our country.
In 1814 Francis Scott Key, a 35 year old lawyer and amateur poet, wrote a poem called The Star-Spangled Banner. He was inspired to write it after witnessing the attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
The poem was later put to music and it officially became our national anthem in 1916. Today we only sing the first verse, but there are actually four verses to the poem. The inspiring last verse says:
Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-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!
When Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner, little did he know that it would not only become our national anthem, but a line from the poem would later become an inspiration for our national motto, which is engraved on buildings and printed on all of our currency – “In God We Trust”.
So, on the 4th of July and at baseball games throughout the summer, when you put your hand over your heart as you stand and sing The Star-Spangled Banner, think of the deep conviction to God that Francis Scott Key had as he wrote the patriotic lyrics to the song that brings tears to our eyes - our national anthem.
And take some time during the big birthday celebration to reflect on all the incredible freedoms that we enjoy in the United States of America as we give thanks to God, our forefathers, and all who have so gallantly served and fought for our country’s freedom.
Happy 4th of July! God Bless America!