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Third-place hammer thrower Gwen Berry defends her National Anthem tantrum with a dubious history lesson [video]

Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry is really tired of getting so much attention for her public, attention-seeking tantrum over the National Anthem, but evidently she’s not tired of it enough to shut up and stop digging her grave even deeper:



A setup? For what, exactly? But we digress.

For those unfamiliar with the verse Berry is referring to, here it is:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

For what it’s worth, “Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem” author Marc Ferris had this to say about the third verse:

Detractors argue that Key’s lyrics refer to the Colonial Marines, enslaved Africans from the Caribbean to whom the British promised freedom if they helped fight Americans during the War of 1812.

It’s true the Colonial Marines fought beside British forces on their way toward Washington, D.C., in 1814. Key watched the smoke rise from the public buildings in the nation’s capital after the British burned them down.

Then the British army and navy turned their attention toward Baltimore. Colonial Marines again participated. However, their minuscule numbers would have hardly attracted attention.

Key’s third verse sticks a finger in the eye of the British writ large. The song gloats over the American victory after years of warfare. So why would he even consider the Colonial Marines at all?

Taken in context, the term “hireling” likely refers to mercenaries who bolstered a British fighting force decimated by the Napoleonic Wars. Many Americans are aware of the Hessians, German troops who augmented British armies during the Revolutionary War.

And rather than referring to a particular handful of fighters, the term “slave” describes all of the monarch’s loyal subjects, including British troops — as contrasted with free patriot Americans. Key also has been criticized for being a poor poet, and this stilted third verse supports this contention: “save,” “slave” and “grave” may merely have offered simplistic rhymes.


So, maybe Francis Scott Key’s intent with the third verse isn’t as “obvious” as Gwen Berry thinks it is. Maybe she’s not as familiar with American history as she wants people to believe.

Maybe Gwen Berry should stop opening her mouth because she can’t seem to do so without sticking her foot into it.

Making sh*t up may work for a while, but eventually it just pisses people off.

So, she doesn’t want to hear the National Anthem. Apparently she isn’t planning to take gold in the Olympics, then.



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