Music Program: This is My Country


Speaker 1: I’m proud of my country!
Speaker 2: So am I!  A lot of people have been proud of our country!  So proud, in fact, they have fought to make this country great!
Speaker 3: Like the War of 1812 when we fought against the British.  Let me set the stage.  Back in the early 1800’s, America was already free country – and without TV or radio, many of them had dances to have fun!
(Add square, circle, line dances)
Speaker 1: Back to the War of 1812…  Was that the war when we gained our independence from Britain?
Speaker  2:  Oh, no!  We already had our independence!
Speaker  3:  America was a country of great promise and great pride!
Speaker A: It was the year 1814.  The British and Americans were back at war, the war of 1812.
Speaker B: A British Navy ship, anchored off Fort McHenry, was holding an elderly American prisoner, Dr. William Beane.
Speaker C: Francis, Scott Key, a young American attorney, and Colonel John Skinner were given American authorization to take a small sailing vessel out to the British ship to try to negotiate the release of Dr. Beane.
Speaker D: So Francis Scott Key and Colonel Skinner waited aboard the British ship.
Speaker E: Soon, the British agreed to let Dr. Beane leave in the small boat with Key and Skinner.
Speaker F: The Americans were just ready to board their small boat when the admiral stopped them abruptly.
Speaker A:So the Americans resigned themselves to a night on the British vessel.
Speaker B: The battle began.  As darkness came, they could no longer see the fort.  How they wanted to know what was happening on shore!
Speaker C: Their only clue was a flagpole, bearing the stars and stripes.  They riveted their eyes upon it, knowing that, as long as it waved, the Americans were winning.
Speaker D: With every flash of bursting bombs, they peered through the darkness to see if the flag was still waving.
Speaker A: And so it continued, throughout the night.  The Americans watched fearfully for their flag through the smoke-filled skies.
Speaker B: Occasionally the burst of bombs lighted the sky enough to illuminate the flagpole.
Speaker C: When dawn came, the men were exhausted from their nightlong vigil.  They waited eagerly for enough sunlight to see the flagpole.
Speaker D: Francis wrote verse one immediately and verses two and three as they sailed back to shore.  He revised the poem later that evening in his hotel room.  The poem was printed and distributed on handbills the next day.
Speaker E: Later it was sung to a popular tune of the times.
Speaker F: In 1931, Congress declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” as our official U.S. National Anthem.  Please stand and join us as we sing our national anthem.
Speaker 1: So, we won that battle?
Speaker  2: Yes, we did, and we celebrated the safe return of those soldiers!
Speaker  3: Is there anybody in the audience who has served in the armed forces?  Please stand so we can thank you for your service!
Speaker 1: Hey, that flag that flew over Fort McHenry?  Is that the one that’s in the Smithsonian Institute?
Speaker  2: Yes!  It’s being cleaned and restored right now.
Speaker  3: It’s 30 feet by 42 feet.  That’s almost 3 stories high!

We did motions with each student holding a plastic flag.

Speaker 4, Speaker 5, Speaker 6: America is…

Speaker  4: A land of many cultures and nationalities…
Speaker  5: A land of many religions and differences of belief…
Speaker  6: A land of many opportunities…
Speaker  4, Speaker  5, Speaker  6: America is…
Speaker  4: Dreams, both fulfilled and not yet fulfilled…
Speaker  5: The privilege to seek changes in our government…
Speaker  6: The right to vote and to campaign for our candidates.
Speaker  4, Speaker  5, Speaker  6: America is MY COUNTRY!

Thank you, Dawn Lytten, who used this program and shared her own additions and changes (below)!

Speaker 1:   I’m proud of my country!  A long time ago, Indians were the only people to live in America.  Europeans came to explore this fascinating “new world” and saw how wonderful it was.  They returned to their country and told others who also came here to make a new home.  When citizens of one country build a settlement away from their home borders, it is called a “colony.”
Speaker 2:  Music was very important for the colonists.  There were no modern conveniences, like television or radio, so singing and dancing was a way for the colonists to have fun.  They brought music from their home country to America.  Here is an example of an English song from this time period.
Speaker 3:  More and more people made the trip across the Atlantic Ocean to America and they came for many reasons.  One of the main reasons was for religious freedom.  Still others came in hopes of owning land or finding great wealth.  All of them came to find a new life, free to live the way they wanted.
Speaker 4:  England, France and Spain were the countries where most people came to America from.  In time, war broke out between these countries (The French and Indian War) and England won.  There were13 colonies and each became part of England.  Music would continue to be a very big part of everyday life.
{Some type of dance here}
Speaker 5:  Through time, the 13 colonies decided they wanted to unite and form a country of their own.  England was not happy about this decision and war broke out again, but this time it was between England and the English Colonists.  This war would be called The American Revolution.  The colonists won their independence on July 4th, 1776 and decided to call their new country:  The United States of America.  America was a country of great promise and Americans took great pride in their country.
Speaker 6:  The citizens of the United States were so proud of their country they were willing to fight to keep this country great.  The United States went to war again with England (The War of 1812), and fought again to remain independent.  One battle was of significant importance was  “The Battle of Ft. McHenry.”
Speaker 7:  The year was 1814.  A British Navy ship was holding an elderly American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes.  An attorney by the name, Francis Scott Key, and a prisoner negotiator, Colonel John Skinner were asked to find this British ship and negotiate for the release of Dr. Beanes.  The two men were successful in their mission.
Speaker 8:  HOWEVER, the three men were held on board the ship until this battle was over. The British commander was afraid the three men would go to Ft. McHenry and tell about the battle plans to overtake the fort.  So, Key, Skinner and Beanes were held and forced to watch the battle from the British ship.
Speaker 9:  The battle would continue for 25 hours. As darkness came, the Americans could no longer see the fort.  The only sign they had that Ft. McHenry was fighting strong was the sight of the flag which flew over the fort.  The rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air made the night sky light up and the stars and stripes could be seen in the distance.
Speaker 10:  Just before dawn, the fighting stopped and the three men had no idea if Ft. McHenry had fallen into the hands of the enemy.  As daylight came, the flag now known as The Star-Spangled Banner could be seen proudly waving in the breeze.  This sight gave the men the answer they wanted . . . Ft. McHenry was safe and still in the hands of the Americans!
Speaker 11:  Francis Scott Key immediately began writing a poem on the back of an envelope he had in a pocket.  He finished the poem later that evening in his hotel room.  Later the poem was set music using a popular tune of the day.  In 1931, Congress declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official song of our nation.  Please enjoy THIS, our national anthem.
Speaker 12:  The Star-Spangled Banner still exists and is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.  Recently the flag was cleaned, preserved and placed in a state-of-the-art facility in the Museum of American History.  This flag is a national symbol of freedom.
Speaker 13:  Our country would go to war again in 1861 . . .this time the fighting taking place between the North and South.  Soldiers once again fought and died for what they believed in.  “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” was written during the Civil War and offered comfort to families on both sides of the war.  This song brought hope that sons, brothers, uncles and fathers would return safely from war.
Speaker 14:  The United States has been involved in many other wars since The Civil War.  The men and women of the United States Military protect our freedom each and every day.  We are so proud of them and we would like to dedicate a moment to them.  If there is anyone in the audience who has served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, would you please stand so we can thank you for your service!  (Wait for applause!!!!)
  • Because of You – poem copyright 2004 by Roger Robicheau – link here
Speaker 15:  There are many symbols of our nation, symbols showing our American pride: The Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the American Bald Eagle and the Great Seal of the United States are just a few.  None of these symbols, however, are as special as our flag.  Our flag, our Grand Old Flag represents freedom and strength . . . may she forever wave!

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