And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.“

The Battle of Baltimore was one of the most consequential and momentous battles in the War of 1812, a war fought between the U.S. and the Great Britain from 1812 to 1815. On September 12, 1814, the British launched land assaults at North Point and sea invasions at Fort McHenry, attempting to capture the Port of Baltimore.

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American militia staved off the attacks of 5,000 British troops on land at North Point, so British forces turned full attention to Fort McHenry. On September 13, nineteen British ships aimed all their fire power on the fort, and pelted it and the 1,000 American soldiers holding it with rockets, mortar shells, and 1,500 – 1,800 cannonballs for 25 hours straight. They then arranged a land attack on the fort, sending a party ashore.

Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer and budding poet, was located on a British truce vessel that night, where he worked to negotiate and secure the release of a physician who was captured by the British. From his position, he could see the glow of exploding cannon shells as the greatest Navy in the world at that time rained its fury on a fort protecting Baltimore. Rain obscured his view of the city during the night, but as bombs burst and rockets exploded, he saw something familiar: a 30-foot American flag, adorned with 15 stars and 15 stripes, flying high above the fort.

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American troops opened fire on British forces as they landed on the shore, and the artillery from the warships failed their mission – Fort McHenry stood firm. The British retreated, marking the turning point of the war.

As the smoke cleared and dawn broke on the morning of September 14, Francis Scott Key began to pen the words to “The Defense of Fort McHenry” on an envelope. His poem was set to music, and became known as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and became our national anthem in 1931.

Today, we stand just as our anthem’s writer did – watching helplessly, waiting breathlessly, and wondering if our flag will stand. Our rights and freedoms are once again threatened, and the smoke of crumbling values obscures our view of the glory of this great country. We strain to see through the mist and struggle to catch a glimpse of God’s grace that made many into one and preserved a nation for over 200 years.

Yet our national anthem itself provides answers – glimmers of hope in a dark world. The Star Spangled Banner has four verses, each one ending as the first: O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave. The final verse of Key’s inspiring song drapes the previous three in admonition for principle characteristics that secure future peace and victory.

 

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n 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!

 

Happy Independence Day, friends. God bless your celebration, and God bless the United States of America!

God Bless America

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Thursday, Reflecting the Light

I remember reading a story once about a young woman with smooth, beautiful hands who was chosen to be a ring model. Stunning diamonds were placed on her long, slender fingers. Her hand was then placed just above a black velvet cloth, and she was instructed to tilt her hand toward a light. Only when placed against darkness with a light above did the diamond shine and reveal its true color and clarity.

 

The presidential election was held this past Tuesday, and President Obama secured his second term. The end of every presidential election brings uncertainty and concern among those who voted for an outcome they didn’t receive. But this election carries with it the possibility of unprecedented change to the American way of life, debt and deficits of epic proportions, and further degradation of the sanctity of human life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

It may feel as though this time is shrouded in darkness, but when we tilt toward the Light of the world, we reflect Him, and shine. His grace is sufficient for us, and His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can choose to reflect Christ’s grace and strength, and let our light shine in the darkness before men, so that they will see our good works and praise God (Matt. 5:16). As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15), and I will let this little light of mine shine. I will not hide it, I will not let it be snuffed out, I will let it shine, shine, shine!

 

My Thanksgiving List 11/8/12

 

467. Bathtime ducks, fish, crab, and octopus that make Peanut happy

 

470. Hoop earrings

 

462. Breakfast of Champions: toast, peanut butter, honey, & banana

 

483. A new cellphone that I don’t have to scream into to be heard!

 

481. Sunflowers in my kitchen

 

482. A curling iron

 

480. Peanut’s sparkling hazel eyes

 

458. Breakthroughs

 

452. Two cooks living together in one household in peace, harmony, and joy 🙂

 

486. That my husband can flip fully loaded omelets in the air & make our daughter giggle

 

398. A squeaky clean, sparkly white bathtub

 

487. Peanut finally & clearly recognizes and says, “Jeep!”

 

477. Getting to church on time

 

483. The right, honor, & privilege of voting

 

 

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?