Download “O! Say Can You See?.mp3

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(I have wanted to write this song for so long!!!)

The idea for writing an “update” to the American national anthem came to me shortly after it dawned on me that the implications of the first stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem are almost completely masked by the anthem’s melody.  Everyone seems to belt out the last lines (of the first verse) as a glorious, patriotic exclamation -- as though it were a triumphant description of our country.  It seems, in the singing of the song, that no one really recognizes the fact that the verse ends with a question mark!

Paraphrased, the first verse ends with the question, “Does our flag still wave over our country?”

This is, in fact, the question asked throughout the entire first verse.  It’s the question that inspired Key to write the poem in the first place.  But what I found most intriguing was that that one question can be actually be interpreted as if it were asking two completely separate questions . . .

      (1)  Is the flag still there?

      (2)  Does that flag still fly over “the land

               of the free and the home of the brave?”

And it’s that SECOND question that I’ve really wanted to explore in a song.  I’ve carried around this idea in my head for years!  So when we were challenged in a SpinTunes challenge to write a sequel to a single that landed in the Billboard Top 20, I was provided the impetus to actually get around to finally writing the song!  (And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Whitney Houston, for taking our national anthem to #6 on the charts . . .)

(And if you’re interested?  Another brilliant performance of the American national anthem . . .)

O! say can you see,

Now that morning has broken,

The flag that was there

When the sun disappeared?

The flag of a land

Of which poets have spoken;

That ancestors forged

And defenders revered.

O! say does that star-spangled

Banner yet wave

O’er what they would know?

What they fought to make so?

A land in which ev’ryone

Gets to live free.

A land where the people

Can be what they’ll be.

A land where you have the right

Not to agree,

But you know that it’s true

That others can, too . . .

A land where the masses

Are trusted to see

The directions in which

Our best interests would be.

We know being happy

Has no guarantee,

But we’re free to pursue . . .

And others can, too . . .

So say can you see,

By the light streaming o’er us,

Our flag that’s endured

Through the darkest of days?

A flag that’s inspired

Generations before us

And still beckons now

With the hope it conveys.

O! say does that star-spangled

Banner yet wave

O’er the land

That we claim to be?

The land

That we aim to be?

A land where all are free?

Read the “Biography” of this song!

Read the “Biography” of this song!