I don’t remember learning any more of our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, than the first verse. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize there are actually four verses; I suspected there might be two. And, how did I learn this fact? This morning, while reading the newspaper—the articles about newly sworn citizens, upheaval in Egypt, the soaring temperatures contributing to the spread of West Nile Virus (ironic juxtaposition with Egypt’s plight)—I turned to the “Cryptoquote” puzzle which I do every morning and realized immediately that it was from “The Star Spangled Banner” (‘o’er’ was the dead giveaway) but I couldn’t immediately figure out the word “triumph’ because shouldn’t it be “that star-spangled banner yet wave?” The letter pattern was wrong. With a few minutes speculation I finally identified the letters ‘m’ and ‘p’ in the word triumph. These are the last two lines of the four verse Star Spangled Banner.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Of course, that sent me outside to photograph my flag, triumphantly waving over my home in my peaceful neighborhood. And despite the fact that I once again have no air conditioning and today’s high is predicted to be 108° and they can’t get to my house to fix the air conditioner until Saturday, I cannot complain and I am grateful that I live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.