National Anthem Day!

Today, in 1931, President Herbert Hoover signs a congressional act making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States.

On September 14, 1814, the sun rose over Ft. McHenry in the midst of the Battle of Baltimore. It was then that those watching could see clearly that the Flag still stood over the fort; the defenses had held. When he saw it, Francis Scott Key wrote the words that would become our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

Star Spangled Banner

An American lawyer and poet, Francis Scott Key, was on a mercy mission for the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British. Key showed the British letters from wounded British officers praising the care they received from Dr. Beanes. The British agreed to release Beanes, but Key and Beanes were forced to stay with the British until the attack on Baltimore was over. Key watched the proceedings from a truce ship in the Patapsco River. On the morning of the 14th, Key saw the American flag waving above Fort McHenry. Inspired, he began jotting down verses on the back of a letter he was carrying. When Key reached Baltimore, his poem, titled “Defence of Fort McHenry”. was printed on pamphlets by the Baltimore American.

His sloop alone  in the bay, Francis Scott Key looked fearfully towards the shoreline.  A breeze began to move across the water’s surface and the smoke of battle began to shift ever so slightly to reveal patches of blue sky.  And then, in the distant blue there appeared new colors….red and white….brief glimpses of the two-feet wide stripes of the Star Spangled Banner.
Then a star appeared in the daytime sky, then another….then fifteen stars in the daytime.  What a welcomed site they were.  Mr. Key’s heart swelled with hope, and pride in the men who had so valiantly fought through the night to keep that flag flying.  Reaching into his pocket he withdrew an envelope and began to write his thoughts:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,  O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,  Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

According to, Key’s words were later set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular English song. Throughout the 19th century, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was regarded as the national anthem by most branches of the U.S. armed forces and other groups, but it was not until 1916, and the signing of an executive order by President Woodrow Wilson, that it was formally designated as such. In March 1931, Congress passed an act confirming Wilson’s presidential order, and on March 3 President Hoover signed it into law.


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26 Responses to National Anthem Day!

  1. stella says:

    Another famous song, in honor of the War of 1812. This also happened in 1814.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. stella says:

    When I really thought about it, The War of 1812 was just as important, if not more, to the foundation of the United States of America.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lburg says:

    I shared this video with my grandson during the height of the ‘take a knee’ protest – he’s a huge football fan and I wanted him to have ‘the rest of the story’. He was confused after watching.
    Wait – they are protesting a song that was written about people who died to keep the flag flying?? Yup.

    (Just take out the asterisks to watch – it’s worth the 11 minutes if you have never seen it.)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lburg says:

    There is a ‘gunk hole’ that is one of my favorite places to anchor. You have to navigate a very narrow somewhat shallow neck to get into it, but once you do, you’re in deep water surrounded by nearly 360 degrees of trees. Lots of cool wild life and very quiet since most people find easier and less tricky anchorages.

    During the summer there is a resident (don’t know exactly where the place is….have never figured it out) who plays the Anthem every morning at seven with the volume turned all the way up. You can hear it for miles. Nothing fancy – an instrumental version without all the trilling. (It is apparent that this resident does not give a hoot how late it was when you went to bed or how much you had to drink before you got there.)

    Generally am up making breakfast by then, but always stop to look in the direction of the sound and stand respectfully. I’ve seen boaters across the river do the same thing but they are as old as I am. The trick will be making sure children that are in my grandson’s age group are taught about about the significance since their ‘education’ up to this point has been sorely lacking in patriotic studies.

    Liked by 5 people

    • joshua says:

      I once lived in Austin Texas near an undeveloped wooded area, where every Sunday morning, an old Scotsman who lived in a shack in the woods, played his bagpipe for all to hear….and frankly, it tickled me….

      Liked by 3 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Last year in pre-k my granddaughter learned the Pledge of Allegiance. It was one of the very proud and happy moments of our lives when she unexpectedly decided to recite it for us. My husband and I had no idea she had been learning it.

      I remember learning about Francis Scott Key writing the Star Spangled Banner when I was in grammar school. I never lost the image of him watching the shelling, and that is what I see when I hear it to this day. Now they don’t teach such as that in school.

      Liked by 3 people

      • stella says:

        I was thinking yesterday about when I was a little girl, about 6 years old. I can remember being in bed at night and thinking how lucky I was to have been born in the United States. I wonder if kids are still taught about what a wonderful system of government we have – how unique and special it is. Probably not.

        Liked by 3 people

        • stella says:

          I just watched the video (again) of the anthem that I posted (above). When the spotlight highlighted the flag being raised, I got shivers along my spine.

          Liked by 3 people

        • auscitizenmom says:

          Me, too.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Menagerie says:

          My eight year old grandson is very well informed about our system of government. They studied it in school last year. He goes to the best public school in town though, and though he learned it at school, I’m pretty sure he spent a lot of time discussing it with my son. Both talk a lot, the grandson has more questions and observations than any kid I’ve ever seen, and the son is a well educated, especially in the Constitution, Amendments, and government, parent who full intends to see to it the boys are educated as well.

          His youngest son sleeps under a large flag sent to him from a soldier buddy of his dad wh is in special forces, a flag carried into battle. My son had it framed and it is so breathtaking.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Lburg says:

        I’m proud of her too, and don’t even know her! What a wonderful surprise!

        Liked by 3 people

  5. joshua says:

    well…I stood up while reading this as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. joshua says:

    only dogs are allowed to not stand…by Presidential order

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucille says:

    A straightforward version (always my favorite)…no notation on the YT vid what choir this is…

    United States of America’s National Anthem


  8. Jimi, Genius:

    On Daryl Hall’s show, Live at Daryl’s House, Billy Gibbons was talking with Daryl, and related a story.

    He said he was on tour and in a hotel with Jimi. Jimi always brought a full console stereo with him to his hotel room, with turntable and everything. Billy walked into the room and Jimi was repeating a section again and again on a Jeff Beck album. He asked Jimi, “What are you doing?” Jimi said, “I’m trying to figure out how Beck does this.” Billy said, “We’re all trying to figure out how you do what YOU do! All of us!”


  9. The absolute best version, IMO.


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