A New York Times piece in June noted a recurring move to change our national anthem, a move that gathers steam and peters out periodically.

Change-the-anthem proponents frequently put forward “America the Beautiful” as an alternative to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“America the Beautiful,” written by a Wellesley professor named Katherine Lee Bates, is a beautiful song, and those who prefer it as a nation anthem argue that it’s ecologically sound, which they prefer to the militaristic notes of our current anthem.

As you know, but it bears repeating this Fourth (and all Fourths), “The Star-Spangled Banner” grew out of a specific event in American history–the defense of Fort McHenry, in 1814, by a small number of American troops against a larger British Army.

Francis Scots Key, a thirty-five-year-old poet and lawyer, was at that battle, and by the dawn’s early light, he proudly hailed the broad stripes and bright stars that represented the United States.

Don’t you imagine that there have been young men and young women who have rejoiced to see it still flying in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the places we have fought for our freedom (and the freedom of others) since Fort McHenry?

“America the Beautiful” is a wonderful song, but “The Star-Spangled Banner” speaks to the sacrifice and grit it takes if freedom is to continue to reign.

Happy Fourth from those of us at Inkwell and the IWF!