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!
There are four versus to our National Anthem, and that is the fourth.
It is that seldom seen or heard fourth verse that says so much about us as a nation and the sacrifices made by those who for more than 200 years have preserved it as a bastion of freedom, liberty and security.
It was ironic that the Maryland lawyer who wrote that verse was standing on board an attacking British ship when he received his inspiration, a ship whose commander was no doubt embarrassed that his fleet could not pull down that huge American Flag with shot or shell.
Today is a day of rest for most of us in this land of the free and home of the brave, a day set aside to honor those who have gone before and paid the price for our freedoms.
Sometime today, we hope that you will take a few moments to pause in quiet reflection on places like Omaha Beach, Khe Sanh, Iwo Jima and the countless other places where Americans left their blood on the ground so that this ground would be safe and secure.
There are Memorial Day ceremonies throughout Warren County today, each of them a chance to reflect on the fragility of our freedoms and the price that must be paid to preserve them.
We owe those brave men and women so much more than that.