The Star Spangled Banner

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Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, wrote the lyrics to the United States national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

During the War of 1812, Key watched the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13-14, 1814. At dawn, he was able to see an American flag still waving and inspired, wrote a poem about his experience, which was soon published. A music publisher adapted it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular tune Key had already used as a setting for an earlier song.

Though somewhat difficult to sing, the song became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail, Columbia” (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the time of the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. More than a century after its first publication, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play what became known as the “Service Version”) and then by a Congressional resolution this date in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.  (from Wikipedia)

 

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