LETTER: Americans should have truthful discussion of anthem

To the editor:

In her recent letter to the editor, Patti Almanza mentions wording in the third verse of the national anthem that says, “no refuge could save the hireling and slave…”

Most of us only hear and/or sing the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” There are four verses.

Because of the mention of “slave,” Ms. Almanza said she would not stand for the anthem again.

The poem “Defense of Fort McHenry” was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key. The four-verse poem was adopted by Congress in 1931 as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem.

The third verse refers to black units that fought for the British and mercenaries hired by the British that could not hide from Americans after the war was over. But it sounds like all slaves.

Key was a slaveholder.

When it comes to the “land of the ‘free’ and home of the brave” in the anthem, Key obviously was not referring to those in slavery in America.

I can understand Ms. Almanza’s point. Perhaps instead of shouting one another down in controversies, Americans need to have a truthful discussion about the national anthem which was written in the heat of battle and not meant to be the national anthem.

Ironically, although deriding the British in its language, the anthem was set to the tune of a British song.

Tom MacCallum