“O Say,  Can You See?”

July 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

silhouetted flag  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…”                  (Psalm 33:12)

written by Debbie Allen

During the War of 1812, The ‘Washington Post’ headlines were, no doubt, plastered with bold one-liners like these; following the unbelievable, deadly, British attack on American soils:

“The White House is Burning!”  “Casualties on Our Own Shores!”  “Washington on Fire!”

No one expected this unwarranted attack on our young Nation. Even so, America scrambled back to her feet on high alert!  By the time the smoke cleared and the shock subsided, our Nation, along with the help of it’s growing and determined militia, was again about to engage in yet another battle for her freedom.  This time she faced another attack by the Royal British Navy  on the shores of Baltimore, Maryland.  While most of us remember the historic battle that took place on land that night; few of us know to look  beyond these same shores where we discover another intricate piece of history in the making!

A man called Frank, propped a rain soaked boot up on the polished side-rail of the British ship, detaining him against his will now, for over 20 hours.  Somewhere, stowed below deck on that same ship, was Dr. Beanes, Frank’s friend and the man he’d been commissioned by the President of the United States, to intervene for in a hostage-recovery mission.  Though a well-respected attorney back in Washington D.C., here on the water-logged deck of this British ship, Frank, too, was just another hostage now. For no other reason but taunting, the enemy shoved a brass spyglass into Frank’s hands, and then forced him to watch the ruthless, attacks on Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  After peering through the rain-washed lens of that spyglass for the duration of a 25-hour British bombardment ; silence finally reigned. No more red glare from rockets streaming through the night sky…no more bombs bursting in mid-air. No more trying to decipher whose casualties were greater. Frank dropped down on one knee and prayed silently.

“God, p-l-e-a-s-e…it is only by Your Grace our nation is here today; and only by Your Grace will it remain.  Amen

With exhausted arms and trembling hands, he rose to his feet, lifting the dreaded spyglass up against his bloodshot eye one last time. Frank pointed it in the direction of a smoldering, Fort McHenry. Great billows of smoke and ash rolled out into the silent harbor. By now, the rain too, subsided; only deepening the silence now threatening to smother him. The rhythmic beating of his anxious heart became the drum roll for what the spyglass was about to reveal to him. There in the dimness of dawn’s early light, Frank could see an American Flag being hoisted up onto the only thing left standing in Fort McHenry…the flag pole!

“Our flag is still there!” he shouted hoarsely, to anyone who might be listening

Turning to see the reaction of the soldiers on-deck; Frank spotted a British Officer fast approaching him with his friend, Dr. Beanes, in tow.  Cutting the ropes laced around Beane’s wrists, the Officer nearly knocked Frank overboard, shoving the Doctor towards him.

“Take your hostage and go back to your precious America… England deems you both as worthless as the soils you walk upon !”

Unscathed by this British Officer’s angry words, Frank was relieved to see his friend in good spirits.  Handing the spyglass to Beanes, he pointed it toward Fort McHenry. Still basking in the miracle of answered prayer and the beauty of the stars and stripes, Frank  pulled a damp envelope from his jacket pocket and began to pen these words,

“O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”


“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-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.”

by Francis Scott Key (Frank) ———- September 14, 1814

The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” on the flag being hoisted over the shores of Fort McHenry  inspired Frank to write these fitting words; which eventually became the song we recognize today to be our National Anthem.  Nothing embodies a vision of freedom quite like the American Flag. Frank experienced it while looking through the spyglass back in 1814. You and I  sense the same pull it has on our own hearts today when we stand before ‘Old Glory’ with our hands cupped over our hearts, singing the National Anthem.

As we celebrate our own Freedom on Independence Day this Fourth of July; may we be reminded of the fearless courage and integrity, self-sacrifice and devotion of Americans, past and present; who willingly laid their lives down in defense of the freedom we walk in today. Dedicate your lives to the principles for which it stands.  Read between the stripes and see what Frank really saw when he looked down the shaft of that spyglass  back in 1814…

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”

mini heart fp


O Say can you see…that Frank is perhaps reflnecting a much bigger picture of His-Story (God’s Story) than you or I ever imagined?  O Say can you see…the spiritual implications concerning your own heart and the price of freedom, whether on an individual basis or a national level?  O Say can you see…and consider these words from the Old Testament, pointing us to a different set of “Stripes” from our past ?

“…the burden of our peace was upon Him [Jesus] and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

What will you do with these heavenly”Stripes”? Turn away from them…or consider the high cost of the Freedom they bought for you?

PRAYER : Father, Thank you for the freedom we both celebrate today on Independence Day, and experience so freely every day!   Bless this nation with both victory and peace. May we never forget that America is a Heaven-Rescued land!

Christ and Flag


“And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!”