Monday, September 13, 2010

From Sea Change, a work in progress:

            “I know that tune–I heard it in the inn where I waited to board the Lady Jane.  It is ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’, is it not?  I recall the people who attempted to navigate its melody often failed miserably.”
            “Maybe it’s a song best attempted while drinking for the full effect.  But I’m told it is now popular in Baltimore with lyrics based on Mr. Key’s poem–‘And the rockets’ red glare...’ .”
            Charley snickered as his voice strained through the notes. 
            “That tune will never catch on, Captain.  Certainly not the way you sing!  Best you stick to sailing your ship.”

Today is the anniversary of the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, during what some historians refer to as "The second war of American independence". Francis Scott Key was a lawyer who'd come to negotiate a prisoner's release, and saw the action from a nearby ship.

From Wikipedia:

"When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14, he was so moved that he began that morning to compose the poem "The Defence of Fort McHenry" which would later be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become America's national anthem."

So raise a glass, struggle through the high notes, and remember how that poem helped rally a nation during a dark time.

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