What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming
Tears of joy. Yes we can. Its really a surreal feeling for the progressively minded in America. We're suspended in a state that oscillates between crying and cheering. I can't really communicate the extent of shame that we've felt for our country's attitude both domestically and internationally. I feel like I'm beginning to release a sort of toxic buildup -- I can't figure out why else tears are coming from my eyes tonight.
I was 18 when George W. Bush came to office. As I matured, I felt shame from being an American: I was morally, and spiritually opposed to him and everything he stood for. It wasn't til tonight that I've felt pride in America -- for the first time, I've been able to appreciate the poetry of our national anthem.
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 rockets' red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night
that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The best musical version I found was wordless, and arranged by none other than none other than Sergei Rachmaninoff: the great composer, who recorded this on a piano role in 1919 around the time when the United States granted him asylum from the the soviets. Later versions of the marine corp band's rendition were quite similar in their reverent interpretation.
No, listening to our national anthem is not a regular passtime of mine, but I felt its a microscopic example of how unusual tonight actually was. Today wakes a completely different America.