Display Of National Motto More Appropriate Than Ever | First Liberty

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Display Of National Motto More Appropriate Than Ever

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November 11, 2019

When Francis Scott Key emerged from the hold of the HMS Minden the morning after the bombardment of Fort McHenry, he made an appropriate decision that would impact our history down to today. Seeing “Old Glory” wave atop the battle-tested fort moved him to pen what we know today as the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Since then, the National Anthem stirs our hearts with patriotism, signals the start to ball games, and moves grizzled veterans to tears. It’s also the source of our National Motto, something not everyone thinks is appropriate.


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Key felt the weight of the historical moment. It was the War of 1812 — what some call our “Second War for Independence.” The fledgling nation that would become an international superpower faced off for the second time in fifty years against the superpower that would become its eventual ally in freedom. But all was not certain the night Key spent aboard the HMS Minden.

Seeing the “dawn’s early light” against what “so proudly we hailed at twilight’s last gleaming” must have produced confidence that this experiment in democracy might just work. Years later, the nation would grab an oft-forgotten line from the fourth verse of that hymn, adapting, and then adopting, it officially as our National Motto: “And this be our Motto: ‘In God is our trust.’”

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