RFI President Eric Patterson: “The Dawn’s Early Light”

July 3, 2023

RFI President Eric Patterson wrote a piece published today in WORLD in honor of Independence Day titled, “The Dawn’s Early Light.” In it, Patterson reflects on the patriotic balance of America’s national anthem, contrasting it with the “mystical, quasi-idolatrous language” of other national anthems. He argues that rather than imposing idolatrous claims, ours instead “helps us by portraying a robust yet bounded patriotism.”

“O Say Can You See?” was written as a poem by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812.

The rarely sung, final verse portrays an appropriate patriotism for Christians.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

American citizens may be called upon to defend their neighbors and their homes. Self-defense is a just cause, unlike rapacious conquest, criminal violence, or terrorism. Their actions are in pursuit of peace, not the glory of the Fatherland or to impose an ideology on others.

Victory and peace are gifts: America was a “heaven-rescued land” as it fought off, for the second time, the world’s most powerful navy and second greatest army. Americans should indeed be thankful!

Read the full article: “The Dawn’s Early Light.”