At its founding, the United States was dubbed a “great experiment.” Where most nations were formed out of hundreds or thousands of years of common history, language, culture, etc., the United States showed that it was possible for people from different backgrounds to come together and build a nation on the idea that we are “all created equal.”

At the time, the country was unique in the world, borne out of an effort to build a society based on “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” or self-evident, universal principles and values. This is what allowed to bring together people from different histories, cultures, races, religions around the world to become “out of many, one.”

Many had doubts about the feasibility of such a cause at the time. Yet today, nearly two and a half centuries years since the July 4th Declaration of Independence in 1776, America still stands as a symbol of our God-given rights and freedoms.

In trying times, the people of our country need to look back to those founding ideals together.  The ideals can be found in the stories, symbols, and songs of the nation. These point back to what we hold most dear and binds us together in common cause. With these lessons in mind, we take time to reflect on the national anthem of the United States of America.


The Star-Spangled Banner Lyrics

By Francis Scott Key 1814

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 thru 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!

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!


On July 4th, we take time to reflect on the lessons of the “great experiment” we are all building together in America today.