Why I Cry When I Sing the Star Spangled Banner

By Rose Marie Rudolph

It would be difficult to explain how much I love the 4th of July!  I’ve traveled to all fifty states, two US territories and eleven other countries around the world. Without fail, every time after traveling abroad, the moment our plane touches down on American soil, my eyes well up with tears. Why? It is because all at once I experience a rush of gratitude and love for this incredible county I get to live in, our United States of America!

That overwhelming sense of gratitude is for the following:

The courageous men of the continental congress who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and for the many months of their lives they sacrificed as they debated and compromised to determine the proper course of action for our new nation! 

The wives, children and families of these men that sacrificed their husbands/fathers during those many months it took to accomplish this incredible work that completely changed the course for you and me.

The men and women young and old who have protected our freedoms through the years, often sitting alone in a barracks while the rest of us get a day off work, attend parades, take our boats out, have family picnics, and wave sparklers. For the spouses and children of these brave soldiers who celebrate without their deployed loved one and especially for the families of those who have experienced the heartbreak of their soldier being returned draped in a flag!

The many selfless Americans: presidents, congressmen and women, first responders and all who have represented you and me and kept us safe as we close our eyes in peace every night! 

For the sheer brilliance of our amazing democracy and its three branches of government! 

For Francis Scott Key for writing our national anthem describing what it was like being held on a British warship where he, as a lawyer, was sent and succeeded to negotiate the release of the prisoners that were being held in warships during the battle of Baltimore during the war of 1812. He went below deck to inform the prisoners of his success and told them they would be freed. Then he went to speak with the admiral who told him that none of them could leave yet and that the British had issued an ultimatum.  If the Americans would lower their flag, the British would stop the destruction of Fort McHenry immediately and then they would know that the Americans have surrendered and now be under British rule. Key agreed to keep the prisoners informed about what was happening. As the British bombarded Fort McHenry with the deafening bombs bursting, the red glare of the rockets allowed him to see that the flag was still standing as the awful battle raged on through the entire night. Then, during that blessed morning in the early light of dawn, Key saw those broad stripes and bright stars still waving after that perilous fight! 

My second favorite patriotic song is America the Beautiful! The modern day songs about our great nation are wonderful and entertaining but the traditional patriotic songs get me every time. If we just read and reflect on these beautiful words written so long ago, we can then begin to understand love of God and country.


O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties,

Above the fruited plain!


America, America!

God shed His grace on Thee

And crown thy Good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!


O beautiful for pilgrim feet,

Whose stern impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!


America, America!

God mend thine every flaw!

Confirm thy soul in self control

Thy liberty in law!


O beautiful for heroes proved,

 In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!


America, America,

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness,

And every gain divine!


O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years,

Thine alabaster cities gleam,

Undimmed by human tears.


America, America!

God Shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!


May our success be nobleness and our every gain divine! Enjoy your liberty this 4th of July!

July 4, 2021 - 1:36pm

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