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.

On Friday's radio program, Bill O'Reilly joins Glenn Beck discuss the possible outcomes for the Democrats in 2020.

Why are former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama working overtime to convince Americans they're more moderate than most of the far-left Democratic presidential candidates? Is there a chance of a Michelle Obama vs. Donald Trump race this fall?

O'Reilly surmised that a post-primary nomination would probably be more of a "Bloomberg play." He said Michael Bloomberg might actually stand a chance at the Democratic nomination if there is a brokered convention, as many Democratic leaders are fearfully anticipating.

"Bloomberg knows he doesn't really have a chance to get enough delegates to win," O'Reilly said. "He's doing two things: If there's a brokered convention, there he is. And even if there is a nominee, it will probably be Biden, and Biden will give [him] Secretary of State or Secretary of Treasury. That's what Bloomberg wants."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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.


On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings, explained his newly filed lawsuit, which seeks the records of contact between Ukraine prosecutors and the U.S. Embassy officials in Kiev during the 2016 election.

The records would provide valuable information on what really happened in Ukraine, including what then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were doing with Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, Solomon explained.

The documents, which the State Department has withheld thus far despite repeated requests for release by Solomon, would likely shed light on the alleged corruption that President Donald Trump requested to be investigated during his phone call with the president of Ukraine last year.

With the help of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Solomon's lawsuit seeks to compel the State Department to release the critical records. Once released, the records are expected to reveal, once and for all, exactly why President Trump wanted to investigate the dealings in Ukraine, and finally expose the side of the story that Democrats are trying to hide in their push for impeachment.

"It's been a one-sided story so far, just like the beginning of the Russia collusion story, right? Everybody was certain on Jan. 9 of 2017 that the Christopher Steele dossier was gospel. And our president was an agent of Russia. Three years later, we learned that all of that turned out to be bunk, " Solomon said.

"The most important thing about politics, and about investigations, is that there are two sides to a story. There are two pieces of evidence. And right now, we've only seen one side of it," he continued. "I think we'll learn a lot about what the intelligence community, what the economic and Treasury Department community was telling the president. And I bet the story was way more complicated than the narrative that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] has woven so far."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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.

Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

Watch the video clip below for a preview of the full-length interview:

The full interview will air on January 30th for Blaze TV subscribers, and February 1st on YouTube and wherever you get your podcast.

Want to listen to more Glenn Beck podcasts?

Subscribe to Glenn Beck's channel on YouTube for FREE access to more of his masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, or subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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.