Southeast Texas Christian Blog. 4th of July- Our Flag – The Rest of the Story by April Anderson

4th of July in the Golden Triangle

Today we’re pleased to share a special Southeast Texas 4th of July message from blogger April Andersonjuly 4th picnic logo

Many of you know April from her Southeast Texas abstinence ministry “Armed and Virtuous”.

April has helped many Southeast Texas parents talk to our children about abstinence.

Today she has a message about patriotism and the 4th of July:

Proverbs 14:34     Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (NKJV).

My son and I studied American History this past school year.  We had a tremendous time learning together about what makes our country unique and great.  As we approached the War of 1812, we studied the British attack on Fort McHenry, and learned about how Francis Scott Key wrote our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  Then we listened to a recording of the song. . . and I was speechless!

Anyone who knows me realizes how many times in my life I’ve either played or sung The Star Spangled Banner.  I’ve been a band director for years, and a band student for many more.  I know how to play it, sing it, conduct it, and I can tell you exactly how many cymbal crashes there should be and where they belong!  So, why all of a sudden did it affect me so deeply?  It’s because I had never heard the piece in its entirety.

All this time we’ve proudly sung the first stanza before football games, baseball games, or as one of our Olympic athletes won the gold medal.  We stood to our feet, allowed the ever-familiar words to roll off our tongue and concluded with, Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Do you realize the problem?  We’re ending with a question!  Does it still wave?  Are we still the land of freedom and opportunity?  We take it for granted that it still is, and that we still are, but when this poem was originally penned, that was most certainly not the case.

On September 12, 1814, 5,000 British soldiers and 19 war ships attacked Baltimore.  Francis Scott Key was being held on a British ship during the bombardment, which lasted 25 hours, and was forced to watch the battle from a distance.  To him, this battle represented a desperate fight for a dream.  The British had already set fire to the White House and Capitol building.  If they succeeded in taking this major seaport, the dream of American freedom was over.

SETX 4th of July

As he struggled emotionally through the battle, and finally the barrage of gunfire ceased, Key had only one question on his mind, Which flag is flying?  If the British flag now flew over the fort, all was lost, but if only our flag was still there…

I could keep telling you the story, but you need to read his complete expression in his own words.  Originally titled Defiance of Fort McHenry (or Defense of Fort McHenry), here is the complete version of our National Anthem:

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 full 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!
Blessed with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the God 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!
I learned a lesson from this song, and I hope to pass it along to you:  Faith in God is the foundation upon which our country was built.  As long as we as a people have acknowledged God, He has blessed and protected us, regardless of the size of the opposition.  If we edit and cut down our history, like we’ve edited and cut down our national anthem, we forget what sets us apart from all the other nations in the world.  Our government doesn’t give us freedom; God does!  Our source of hope is not in our human leaders, but in the One who gave them authority in the first place.  May we be reminded how dearly we have paid for our freedom in the past, so that we do not lose it in the future!
God Bless you this 4th of July, and God Bless America!
 July 4th Southeast Texas
By the way, did you notice that this flag has 15 stars and 15 stripes?  That’s because at this point in history, we added both a star and a stripe for every new state.  (Just FYI!)
Sources:  Red, White, and Blue: The Story of the American Flag by John Herman, National Museum of American History, and wikipedia
SETX Abstinence Ministry

My name is April M. Anderson, and I’m just a girl with a story. God laid a burden on my heart to pray for my husband when I was in the sixth grade. I prayed and waited for him for six years, dated him for three, and we’ve been married for 15 years. By God’s grace, both my husband and I were virgins on our wedding day and we’ve been living out our “happily ever after” from that day on!

Armed and Virtous Abstinence Ministry encourages young Southeast Texas women to save themselves for the husbands God is preparing for them.

April Anderson Armed and Virtuous


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We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Southeast Texas July 4th message from April Anderson.

Stay tuned to SETX Church Guide from more from April Anderson.


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