Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Enemy Within: The Fifth Verse of the Star Spangled Banner

This Fourth of July there is very little to celebrate. The man who occupies the most powerful office in the land is a travesty. The environment is being raped and the climate is being savaged. The litany of indignities being unleashed upon the institution of the presidency and the American people warrant despair. Perhaps most alarmingly there is growing resistance to the Constitution unfolding from within the executive branch.

This is a sad day for those who believe in the Consitution and the institution of democracy.

While the Star Spangled Banner is largely about foreign enemies, there is an unofficial fifth verse that speaks to domestic threats. This prescient verse was written by poet Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1861.

When our land is illum'd 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 unchain'd who our birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

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