Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Friday, January 21, 2005

Isaac Asimov would have been happy

Watching the Presidential Inaugural Paryer Service this morning something occured that would of made Isaac Asimov happy if he were alive to see it. No, I don't mean a 2nd Bush term, he was a staunch liberal.

What I am refering to is the fact that at it they sung the 2nd verse of the National Anthem rather than just the 1st verse that most of us are familiar with. "Wait a minute, what 2nd verse?" you ask. "I thought there was only 1 verse."

Well if you thought so, you were wrong. Actually there were 4 verses penned by Francis Scott Key in 13 Sept 1814. The poem was entitled "The Defense of Fort M'Henry." The words came to be sung to the tune of the song "Anacreon in Heaven," the melody of which is attributed to Englishman John Stafford Smith. It was made our National Anthem in 1931 by an Act of Congress.

Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia 2 Jan 1920. He came to the USA on 3 Feb 1923. He died 6 Apr 1992. In 1991 he wrote an article about the national anthem & his love for it. Or to quote him directly: "I have a weakness--I am crazy, absolutely nuts about our national anthem." He loved to explain the background of our anthem as well as sing all 4 verses. He was also opposed to any move to change our anthem to something else. As he said: "(D)on't ever let them take it away."

I have never heard all 4 verses sung, although I have heard a recording of 3 of the 4. So, Isaac, in your memoryhere are all 4 verses:


Oh! 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,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In fully glory reflected now shines in the stream:'
'Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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 their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r 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.


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