A Plea for Freedom: The History of the Star-Spangled Banner Should Keep Protestors on Their Feet

So let's take a minute to know what we're protesting. Shall we?

You know, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is something that is always performed with vim and vigor and boast. And the Millennial Orchestra & Choir, I did a project with them. It's called To Be An American. And it's a collection of American songs.

And I told them the story of some of these songs, like "The Star-Spangled Banner." And it's not a boastful song. It is a song that really is pensive and calls each American to ask themselves, "Is this going to last another day?"

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was first recognized as our national anthem --- but not officially --- by Woodrow Wilson, in 1916.

Congress didn't make it our official national anthem until the 1930s, I think '31. Before that, it was "Hail, Columbia," which, ooh, that's a bad song. Also, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," which is "God Save the Queen." We just took their music and replaced the lyrics.

So this is something that is relatively new. It's 100 years old, as our national anthem. And not even officially. One hundred years ago out of 228, 100 years ago, we decided, yep, that's us.

But we misinterpret the whole thing. If you actually listen to "The Star-Spangled Banner" you hear a different story entirely. You have to understand that this is the War of 1812. And Washington is on fire. And Francis Scott Key goes out, and he's on a mission for President James Madison.

And he goes out to a ship where they're holding a couple of prisoners. They're American prisoners.

The British are holding them on a ship. One of them is a famous doctor at the time, who is accused of getting a bunch of British rounded up and arrested.

And so Francis Scott Key, on an official --- under a flag of truce, goes on board this British ship and says, "Hey, we want to exchange prisoners." Well, during dinner, they start talking about an attack that they're going to do. And this attack that they're now planning, Francis Scott Key and his partner hear --- and the captain of the ship realizes, "I can't let you guys go because now you're going to tell your side. You're going to tell the Americans. So you have to stay on the ship until this battle is over."

So in a story that seems to becoming more and more impossible for me to tell, they're in the ship. And they're watching the battle over Fort McHenry. And they are seeing the rockets. And they're seeing a small flag over the fort. And it's the battle flag. It's not the big one. It's a small one.

And they're watching this through the night. Now, the next morning, they don't know if there's going to be a country left. So as they're watching this, they are peering through the slats of the ship in the portholes. They're hearing the battle rage on. And they are staying up and trying to stay awake. And all they're doing is watching that little teeny banner:

O say can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming.  Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, over the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.  And the rockets' red glare and the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

They only knew that they were still a country, that Fort McHenry was still there and still operating and the fight was still going on when there was an explosion because there was nothing lighting up that flag. It was just the rockets' red glare. It was just the explosions and the fire that allowed them to see that that little, teeny flag was still flying:

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes. What is that which the breeze or the towering steep, as it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, in full glory reflected, now shines in the stream. It is the Star-Spangled Banner. And long may it wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In the morning, the first thing they did when they opened their eyes, if they had been able to shut their eyes, was to look for that flag:

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 of their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hirling and the slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave. And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave.

O thus be it forever when free men shall stand. Between their loved homes and their war's desolation. Blessed with victory and peace, may the heaven's rescued land praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause is just. And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

You know, most people don't know and, in fact, I would guarantee you that everyone who is taking a knee at the Star-Spangled Banner has never heard the sixth stanza. We know there's five.

Those are all printed. Did you know that"The Star Spangled Banner" added a sixth stanza? It's 1861. And this is added:

When our land is illuminated with liberty's smile, if a foe from within strike a blow at her glory, down, down with the traitor that dares to defile the flag of her stars and the page of her story. By the millions unchained, who our birthright have gained, we will keep her bright, blazing forever, unstained. And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, while the end of the free is the home of the brave.

Tell me that this doesn't stand for freedom for all.

Our ignorance of our own history. Our arrogance that has taken a story and turned it into nothing, but something that proceeds the cheer after "play ball" is shouted.

I promise you now, if we do not reconnect with our history, both the good and the bad --- if we throw the baby out with the bathwater, the plea that is "The Star-Spangled Banner" --- it is not boastful. It is not about war. It is a plea.

I promise you, if we don't reconnect with both the good and the bad and make peace with both the good and the bad, it will not be too long before we get up in the morning and we ask sincerely, "Does the flag still wave? Is it still there? Are we still America? Has it been taken down? Has it been lost overnight?"

This article is based on Glenn's radio monologue delivered on August 24, 2017.

The White House can try to spin inflation all day long (and it's trying very hard). But you feel the effects of President Joe Biden’s disastrous leadership every time you go to the grocery store or fill up your car. The American economy is on the brink of disaster after less than two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House. And they’ve got plenty more destruction in the works.

The bottom line is they WANT you to get used to a lower living standard. So, what do you do? How do you prepare? What will food and fuel cost in the months ahead? What would the next Great Depression look like? How are you going to feel the effects of ESG and the Left’s war on oil?

On Wednesday night's "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck brings in a panel of economic experts to answer those questions. He’s joined by Carol Roth, former Wall Street investment banker and author of “The War on Small Business,” and Jim Iuorio, a small business owner, stockbroker, and managing director of TJM Institutional Services. While both forecast the worst-case scenario for average Americans, they also offer a glimmer of hope to get us out of this mess.

Watch the full episode below:


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The FBI recently sent more than a dozen armed agents to the home of well-known pro-life activist Mark Houck to arrest him for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances or FACE Act. Now the father of seven faces up to 11 years in prison over claims that he blocked a man from entering an abortion clinic and shoved him when he wouldn't stop verbally harassing Mark's 12-year-old son. Now, if that doesn't sound insane enough, this all happened after local authorities dropped the case. So, what's the full story here?

Attorney Peter Breen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to tell the family's side of the story, including how the case was already "won" three years ago, and how, after receiving a target letter from the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Mark's legal team agreed to cooperate fully, only to hear nothing back until the day the FBI showed up on Mark's doorstep.

Breen also explained how the FBI has tried to downplay "abuse of power" claims, accusing Mark's wife of making "inaccurate claims" about the terrifying experience.

"Ryan-Marie, who is Mark's wife, she thought she saw 25 [FBI agents.] The FBI came back and said it wasn't 25, it was no more than 15 or 20 heavily armed federal agents. And she had called them a 'SWAT team' because she's a lay person. I don't know the difference between a SWAT team and a bunch of heavily armed, armored, and shield-bearing federal agents," Breen said.

According to Fox News, a senior FBI source said:

There may have been 15-20 agents at the scene, but denied 25 were there. The agents who came to the door had guns out and at the ready, according to this FBI source, but the guns were never pointed at Houck or his family and were lowered or holstered as soon as Houck was taken into custody. Houck was handcuffed with a belly chain.

"So, yeah, they had guns drawn and pointed at Mark in front of his wife and their children. And that whole show of force was done against a man who was not a drug lord, not a mafia boss, but instead, a law-abiding pillar of the community whose attorney said, 'we'll bring him in if you decide to charge, even though you have no case.'"

Breen went on to assert that he believes Congress "needs to" hold Attorney General Merrick Garland accountable for the arrest. "I can't imagine that those 20 federal agents were excited about being called out to a peaceful man's home, guns drawn," he said.

In the video clip below, Breen goes on the explain what he believes should happen next, and why Houck's arrest "should frighten all of us." Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Gavin McInnes broke the internet last month when his live show was interrupted, and it appeared that he was arrested. He broke the internet again a few weeks later when he admitted that the arrest was staged as part of what was intended to be an elaborate prank.

McInnes joined Glenn Beck on "Glenn TV" to explain the real reason behind his disastrous prank.

"This was a $10,000 joke. I lost 100 subscribers because of it, but I was going away to Paris for a week because my daughter is going to college and I thought let's make it interesting," McInnes said of his decision to fake an on-air arrest in the middle of his live "Get Off My Lawn" podcast on August 25.

"There was a method to the madness, with the prank ... my point was, first of all, this is happening to people in real-time. Tim Poole has been swatted a million times," he explained to Glenn. "The thought police are in full effect. I also wanted to lampoon the media's bloodlust for us suffering."

Glenn played a clip of the now-infamous hoax while McInnes explained what was really going on behind the scenes, including how his very drunk friend "Unrelia-Bill" was supposed to act the part of the arresting officer but ended up being much too intoxicated (at "2 pm") to speak even a few lines, and how smugly gleeful the "far left" was when they thought McInnes had actually been arrested.

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:


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Glenn Beck joined Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Thursday night to discuss Visa Inc.'s "horrifying" new plans to flag firearm sales by separately categorizing purchases at gun shops, a move that Glenn aptly described as "the next step in banning guns."

In what's been hailed as a major victory for gun control activists, Visa agreed to adopt the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) new set of standards by creating a special merchant category code for gun and ammunition sales.

In his appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Glenn shared a letter written by Robert B. Thomson III, a senior vice president at Visa, showing that the credit card company initially pushed back on the ISO's new rules.

“We believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent,” Thomson wrote in the letter to pro-gun-control lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Just days later, however, Visa had agreed to comply with the ISO's plan to establish a new merchant category code for gun stores. So why did Visa suddenly flip?

As Glenn explained, it all comes down to pressure from America's largest union-owned bank, the Amalgamated Bank, one of the only unionized banks in the United States and a proud proponent of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing.

"This is the next step in banning guns," Glenn asserted.

"It's horrifying!" Tucker responded after several seconds of stunned silence.

"I'm so grateful you did the reporting on this," he told Glenn. "I'm not sure why it falls to you since we have a couple of very large daily newspapers in this country you'd think would want to report this, yet none of them did. So, Glenn Beck did."


On a recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn broke down the details of this latest attack on the Second Amendment and revealed how this is a step toward something even worse than federal gun registration. Watch the video clip below for more details. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.


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To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.