Fascinating facts and interesting stories

Star-Spangled Banner Anthem

The Star-Spangled Banner became the United States national anthem in 1931. It is based on the poem Defense of Fort M’Henry, written on September 14, 1814 by Francis Scott Key while he was held captive on the British frigate Surprise during their failed attack on the fort in Baltimore. Key penned the words on the back of an envelope after seeing the huge flag – 42ft long, with 7 white stripes, 8 red stripes and 15 white stars – still standing after the attack.

Prior to 1931, the anthem was My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britain’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.

The British anthem was performed the most times in a single performance. In 1909, while waiting for King Edward VII who was getting dressed, a German band played the anthem 17 times.

Star-Spangled Banner anthem lyrics:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The original Stars and Stripes

01/26/2009. Category: music. Tags: .

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