Happy 204th Birthday, Star Spangled Banner!

Ft McHenry Flag.JPGIt was 204 years ago today when Maryland lawyer, Francis Scott Key,  wote the lyrics to a poem  “From Defence of Ft. McHenry”.  He was on a British ship, part the group of ships bombarding Ft McHenry near Baltimore, when he saw the 15 stripe/15 star flag still flying.  The poem was set to the popular British drinking song, “To Anacreon in Heaven” by John Stafford Smith.

It’s first official U.S.  Navy recognition came in 1889 and by President Wilson in 1916.  It did not become the national anthem until March 3, 1931, as part of46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301.  It was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

It is a hard song to sing.  Of the four verses, normally only the 1st verse is sung.

O 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 through 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
O 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 — O 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!

Janine Strange, National Anthem Girl,  is the first person to have sung the National Anthem in all 50 states.  She did this on August 28, 2014.   She sponsors Janine’s Team. which contacts team members from time to time to write notes of encouragement to specific members of our armed forces or their families.  You mail the notes/cards/messages to Janine and she assembles them for whoever is designated to receive the message.  She contacts members by email and it is only occasionally (not a barrage of emails.)



2 thoughts on “Happy 204th Birthday, Star Spangled Banner!”

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