Mind Over Miller: Beyond the fireworks
I wonder how many kids today know the words to our national anthem? How many know the story of how and why Francis Scott Key wrote those words on the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, during the War of 1812, as he gazed upon the tattered flag over Fort McHenry, which had been bombarded all night?
All kinds of sporting events take place on Independence Day, as well as parades. In the western states, it's a great day for rodeos. One thing I like about rodeos is how, invariably, the crowd respectfully stands for our national anthem.Today when someone with a good voice—usually a professional entertainer—is asked to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner," he or she often doesn't sing it the way it was written. The singer embellishes and improvises the melody, often adding the vocal acrobatics so popular in today's music. That's not right.
As a matter of fact, I wish we would sing the last stanza of the anthem, rather than the first. Most Americans probably aren't even familiar with the last stanza, but I think it's beautiful.
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!
Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his Web site at http://www.robertmmiller.com/.