Oh Say Can You See……

Rendering of Francis Scott Key writing Star Spangled Banner at the defense of Baltimore during War of 1812.

Rendering of Francis Scott Key writing Star Spangled Banner at the defense of Baltimore during War of 1812.

These are the opening words to our nation’s national anthem. As the days approach our Independence Day celebrations, I wanted to take a glance at our second war with England. It was the War of 1812. This is when Francis Scott Key wrote our marvelous anthem during the United States successful defense of Baltimore against British invasion (the British had just successfully sacked and burned Washington D.C.)

If you ask most Americans about the War of 1812, you may find limited knowledge about this historical campaign. Many think the name exist because it was a one year war (it lasted until 1815). Others may feel it is a war we decisively won over the British. The reality is we managed not to lose the war. In fact, before Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, the British demands for peace were extremely high. They wanted land in northern New York and New England, sizable territory in the Northwest for their Indian allies, and the Louisiana Purchase territory returned to Spain (they claimed Napoleon illegally sold it to the U.S.). That deal was not because we were winning by any means. In fact, if the British were not so tired of war after defeating Napoleon in Europe, we may not have come out as well as we did.

James Madison was the president when he chose to wage war against England by invading Canada (which was at the time British territory). Ultimately, it was not the greatest idea. American policy had made war a poor proposition by its political choices. To begin with, James Madison was originally a great patriot friend of George Washington, who worked closely with the General during and after the revolution. However, he broke ranks with the original United States President over the Jay Treaty (which favored England over France) and followed Thomas Jefferson and the newly formed Republican party. Jefferson and his party at that time, gained power through the popular idea of no need for a standing army, or a National Bank. Madison followed Jefferson as president, and chose to go to war with England without an army or money to pay one. Yes, that does sound a bit crazy.

The benefit of the war was it corrected a balance in thinking, that meant the United States could move forward to the great country we are today.

Let’s break it down. Popular ideas do not always aim toward actions and goals of the future. The practical aspect of Jefferson (and his then called Republican Party) lost scope of realities that the country would inevitably confront. It was a feel good proposition. But, not a plan to go to war with. In our organizations, and our personal lives, if we have a goal or a plan that demands action, we must first ask ourselves are we prepared for it? Is our failure of accomplishing specific goals directly impacted by policies that make their accomplishment impossible? Do our social objectives (in business, life, or church) limit our intended advance. Something to think about. Sound strategy demands plans and policies that line up with our intended objectives.

written by James Anderson, founder and director of Expecting More!

Meanwhile, here are the lyrics for the first verse of our awesome national anthem (so you never are embarrassed singing it at a ball game):

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro’ 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?

Enjoy this youth choir’s presentation of the National Anthem presented by USAA:


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