Friday, June 3, 2011

The Real Reason Why Sarah Palin Went to Fort McHenry

Most people would say, "She went there because that's where the Star Spangled Banner was written...duh...boring, move on." and they would shrug their shoulders and move on.  But most people would be wrong.  While the Star Spangled Banner was indeed written in the harbor, most people don't know the true story of the battle or the true story of our national anthem.  Sarah does and now I'm going to tell it to you so that you will as well.  The story of the Battle of Baltimore (Fort McHenry) is really one of the most inspiring of all time and it, when combined with the events surrounding the burning of Washington, D.C., shows America's connection to divine providence. 
The British have routed Washington D.C. and while they celebrate by burning the city, something amazing happens.  Out of the blue, with no warning and in an extremely rare event for the east coast, a tornado touched down in the middle of the city.  It tore apart buildings, uprooted trees and sent them flying across the town.  Likewise, it sent British cannon, wagons and soldiers flying as well.  This allowed the American forces, Congress and the President to escape the capital and the clutches of the British Army.  The American government flees into the Pennsylvania countryside while the battered and disorganized army heads northeast to Baltimore.  There, the Americans can catch their breath and regroup in anticipation of the coming battle against the British.

Washington D.C. had been torched and the Americans were on the run in the War of 1812, America's forgotten war.  The British Armada stood in the waters outside of Baltimore and British troops marched on the city riding high spirits from their rout of the American Capital City.  The people of Baltimore, merchants and ship owners, had already committed all able bodied men to their militia which splits itself between the defense of the city by land and manning the city's coastal defense, Fort McHenry.  As the land and naval forces converged, pincing the American military forces and militia at the city of Baltimore, the people decide to sink their OWN ships in a row at the Harbor entrance to block the approach by the British Armada.  It forces the hand of the Brits.

They cannot enter the harbor but they cannot give up the fight.  This is their chance to finally crush the Americans and bring them back into the British Empire.  On September 13th, the British unleashed the most devastating bombardment in the history of warfare to that time.  Shells flew and burst on the ground like fireworks on the Fourth of July.  As the bombardment commenced, the British ground forces attacked the city from the north east.  The bombardment and the attack lasted the entire day but the British shells and infantry were inaccurate and even desperate decoy attempts failed to dislodge the Americans.

A shell falls  into the main magazine (gunpowder storehouse) at Fort McHenry but fails to ignite which saves the magazine.  WE STAND.

Townspeople in Baltimore and those on a truce ship caught in the harbor can do nothing but watch the scenes from a distance.  The British land forces falter and Baltimore is safe as darkness approaches on the evening of the 13th.

A storm rolls in near nightfall and begins to do more to obscure the view of the Fort (which is the key to maintaining control of Baltimore) than the smoke that billows from the many hundreds of cannon unleashing devastation back and forth across the harbor.  Rockets and cannon shells begin to illuminate the darkening sky and at "the twilight's last gleaming", when the night is upon the fort, the flag stands, waving.

Throughout the night, the bombardment continues and the people watch the flag that is flying over the ramparts with great earnest.  Does it stand?  If it does, they know the fort has survived.

As dawn breaks, the bombardment stops. 25 hours of unrelenting fire from the British Armada ceases as the commander of Fort McHenry replaces the storm flag with a new "garrison flag", the largest ever quilted to that time.

It waves over the ramparts of Fort McHenry and instantly the citizens in the harbor and those on the truce ship in the harbor (among them, Francis Scott Key) know that we have survived the attack.  The armada pulls anchor, sets sails and leaves the front of the harbor.  The attack on Baltimore has failed and the Americans have withstood the most fearsome Navy in the world at that time.  Key pens a poem called "Defence of Fort McHenry" that becomes our National Anthem:

O! 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 rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! 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, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
For those of you who never really knew the story of the Battle of Baltimore, where our National Anthem comes from, I hope that this helps to put it into context.  Context is important.  That's why I think it was such a travesty that the Congress left parts out of the reading of the Constitution in January of this year.  They skipped the 3/5ths clause and the 18th Amendment (Prohibition Amendment) as well.  Their defense is that they read the Constitution as it exists today.  Unfortunately for their point, it's not valid.  The Constitution does not contain parts that we can erase.  It legally and purposefully includes those parts that have been changed as WELL as those changes.  We do not delete ANYTHING or "rewrite" the document.  We ADD to it, we do not subtract.  There is a reason for this and that reason is because our Founders wanted us to see America as she is AND as she was.  We must remember WHY we made changes and see our scars if we are to ensure we never cause them again.

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