Star Spangled Banner Facts

Star Spangled Banner Facts
The United States national anthem is "The Star Spangled Banner". This song's lyrics originated as a poem written in 1814 titled "Defence of Fort McHenry" written by Francis Scott Key. He wrote the poem after watching British ships bombard Fort McHenry in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. The poem was later set to music written by John Stafford Smith that had accompanied a British song titled "To Anacreon in Heaven". The U.S. Navy adopted "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem in 1889. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson officially recognized the song as the national anthem, and in 1931 the U.S. Congress made it official.
Interesting Star Spangled Banner Facts:
Other songs that were used officially in the United States prior to officially declaring "The Star Spangled Banner" the national anthem include "Hail, Columbia" and "My Country, 'Tis of Thee".
Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" while on a mission to make a prisoner exchange for Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured by the British.
Francis Scott Key was aboard a British ship until the end of the bombardment of Fort McHenry. He agreed to stay aboard the ship as part of condition of release of Dr. William Beanes, and wrote the poem when he realized the next morning that the Americans had won the battle and their flag was still flying.
The lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner" were first published in two newspapers called The American and the Baltimore Patriot on September 20th, 1814.
Soon after the first printings of the song it was printed by 17 more newspapers. It was being printed under its original title "Defence of Fort McHenry" with a note that said, "Tune: Anacreon in Heaven".
The first public performance of the song occurred in 1814, when Ferdinand Durang, an actor from Baltimore, sang it at a tavern called Captain McCauley's.
The flag that was raised over Fort McHenry is on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History today. This is the flag that Francis Scott Key saw the morning after the bombardment of Fort McHenry.
The national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" has four verses.
"The Star Spangled Banner" is commonly sung at sporting events and on patriotic occasions, although usually it is only the first verse of the song that is sung.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a fifth verse to "The Star Spangled Banner" in 1861. The fifth verse was written in support of the Union cause during the Civil War.
Some believe that Francis Scott Key was tone deaf. His family said he wasn't musical and had a hard time carrying a tune.
The original edition of the sheet music published in 1814 had a spelling error in the subtitle. It reads "A Pariotic Song: instead of "A Patriotic Song".
"The Star Spangled Banner" was officially and legally signed into law by Congress as the United States national anthem in 1931. There had been 40 previous attempts to designate the song as the national anthem but all those attempts had failed.


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