The Star-Spangled Banner

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry,[2] a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the then 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven" (or "The Anacreontic Song"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key's poem and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", it soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being very difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of U.S. officialdom. "Hail, Columbia" served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", whose melody is identical to "God Save the Queen", the United Kingdom's national anthem,[3] also served as a de facto national anthem.[4] Following the War of 1812 and subsequent U.S. wars, other songs emerged to compete for popularity at public events, among them "America the Beautiful", which itself was being considered before 1931, as a candidate to become the national anthem of the United States.[5]

"The Star-Spangled Banner"
The Star-Spangled Banner
The earliest surviving sheet music of "The Star-Spangled Banner", from 1814.

National anthem of the  United States
LyricsFrancis Scott Key, 1814
MusicJohn Stafford Smith, c. 1773
AdoptedMarch 3, 1931[1]
Audio sample
"The Star-Spangled Banner" (instrumental, one stanza)
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Early history

Francis Scott Key's lyrics

KeysSSB
Francis Scott Key's original manuscript copy of his "Defence of Fort M'Henry" poem. It is now on display at the Maryland Historical Society.

On September 3, 1814, following the Burning of Washington and the Raid on Alexandria, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden, flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by President James Madison. Their objective was to secure an exchange of prisoners, one of whom was Dr. William Beanes, the elderly and popular town physician of Upper Marlboro and a friend of Key's who had been captured in his home. Beanes was accused of aiding the arrest of British soldiers. Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans. At first, Ross and Cochrane refused to release Beanes but relented after Key and Skinner showed them letters written by wounded British prisoners praising Beanes and other Americans for their kind treatment.

Because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and later back on HMS Minden. After the bombardment, certain British gunboats attempted to slip past the fort and effect a landing in a cove to the west of it, but they were turned away by fire from nearby Fort Covington, the city's last line of defense.

Ft. Henry bombardement 1814
An artist's rendering of the battle at Fort McHenry

During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort's smaller "storm flag" continued to fly, but once the shell and Congreve rocket[6] barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. On the morning of September 14, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised.

During the bombardment, HMS Terror and HMS Meteor provided some of the "bombs bursting in air".

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964
The 15-star, 15-stripe "Star-Spangled Banner" that inspired the poem

Key was inspired by the U.S. victory and the sight of the large U.S. flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, had been made by Mary Young Pickersgill together with other workers in her home on Baltimore's Pratt Street. The flag later came to be known as the Star-Spangled Banner and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, and again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program.

Aboard the ship the next day, Key wrote a poem on the back of a letter he had kept in his pocket. At twilight on September 16, he and Skinner were released in Baltimore. He completed the poem at the Indian Queen Hotel, where he was staying, and titled it "Defence of Fort M'Henry". It was first published nationally in The Analectic Magazine.[7][8]

Much of the idea of the poem, including the flag imagery and some of the wording, is derived from an earlier song by Key, also set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song". The song, known as "When the Warrior Returns",[9] was written in honor of Stephen Decatur and Charles Stewart on their return from the First Barbary War. Absent elaboration by Francis Scott Key prior to his death in 1843, some have speculated in modern times about the meaning of phrases or verses. According to British historian Robin Blackburn, the words "the hireling and slave" allude to the thousands of ex-slaves in the British ranks organized as the Corps of Colonial Marines, who had been liberated by the British and demanded to be placed in the battle line "where they might expect to meet their former masters."[10] Nevertheless, Professor Mark Clague, a professor of musicology at the University of Michigan, argues that the "middle two verses of Key's lyric vilify the British enemy in the War of 1812" and "in no way glorifies or celebrates slavery."[11] Clague writes that "For Key ... the British mercenaries were scoundrels and the Colonial Marines were traitors who threatened to spark a national insurrection."[11] This harshly anti-British nature of Verse 3 led to its omission in sheet music in World War I, when the British and the U.S. were allies.[11] Responding to the assertion of writer Jon Schwarz of The Intercept that the song is a "celebration of slavery,"[12] Clague said that: "The reference to slaves is about the use and in some sense the manipulation, of black Americans to fight for the British, with the promise of freedom. The American forces included African-Americans as well as whites. The term 'freemen,' whose heroism is celebrated in the fourth stanza, would have encompassed both."[13]

Others suggest that "Key may have intended the phrase as a reference to the British Navy's practice of impressment (kidnapping sailors and forcing them to fight in defense of the crown), or as a semi-metaphorical slap at the British invading force as a whole (which included a large number of mercenaries)."[14]

John Stafford Smith's music

2 Star Spangled Banner
Sheet music version Play 

Key gave the poem to his brother-in-law Judge Joseph H. Nicholson who saw that the words fit the popular melody "The Anacreontic Song", by English composer John Stafford Smith. This was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. Nicholson took the poem to a printer in Baltimore, who anonymously made the first known broadside printing on September 17; of these, two known copies survive.

On September 20, both the Baltimore Patriot and The American printed the song, with the note "Tune: Anacreon in Heaven". The song quickly became popular, with seventeen newspapers from Georgia to New Hampshire printing it. Soon after, Thomas Carr of the Carr Music Store in Baltimore published the words and music together under the title "The Star Spangled Banner", although it was originally called "Defence of Fort M'Henry". Thomas Carr's arrangement introduced the raised fourth which became the standard deviation from "The Anacreontic Song".[15] The song's popularity increased and its first public performance took place in October when Baltimore actor Ferdinand Durang sang it at Captain McCauley's tavern. Washington Irving, then editor of the Analectic Magazine in Philadelphia, reprinted the song in November 1814.

By the early 20th century, there were various versions of the song in popular use. Seeking a singular, standard version, President Woodrow Wilson tasked the U.S. Bureau of Education with providing that official version. In response, the Bureau enlisted the help of five musicians to agree upon an arrangement. Those musicians were Walter Damrosch, Will Earhart, Arnold J. Gantvoort, Oscar Sonneck and John Philip Sousa. The standardized version that was voted upon by these five musicians premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 5, 1917, in a program that included Edward Elgar's Carillon and Gabriel Pierné's The Children's Crusade. The concert was put on by the Oratorio Society of New York and conducted by Walter Damrosch.[16] An official handwritten version of the final votes of these five men has been found and shows all five men's votes tallied, measure by measure.[17]

National anthem

Star-Spangled Banner plaque
Commemorative plaque in Washington, D.C. marking the site at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue where "The Star-Spangled Banner" was first publicly sung
Defence of Fort M'Henry broadside
One of two surviving copies of the 1814 broadside printing of the "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem that later became the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States.

The song gained popularity throughout the 19th century and bands played it during public events, such as Independence Day celebrations.

A plaque displayed at Fort Meade, South Dakota, claims that the idea of making "The Star Spangled Banner" the national anthem began on their parade ground in 1892. Colonel Caleb Carlton, Post Commander, established the tradition that the song be played "at retreat and at the close of parades and concerts." Carlton explained the custom to Governor Sheldon of South Dakota who "promised me that he would try to have the custom established among the state militia." Carlton wrote that after a similar discussion, Secretary of War, Daniel E. Lamont issued an order that it "be played at every Army post every evening at retreat."[18]

In 1899, the U.S. Navy officially adopted "The Star-Spangled Banner".[19] In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at military[19] and other appropriate occasions. The playing of the song two years later during the seventh-inning stretch of Game One of the 1918 World Series, and thereafter during each game of the series is often cited as the first instance that the anthem was played at a baseball game,[20] though evidence shows that the "Star-Spangled Banner" was performed as early as 1897 at opening day ceremonies in Philadelphia and then more regularly at the Polo Grounds in New York City beginning in 1898. In any case, the tradition of performing the national anthem before every baseball game began in World War II.[21]

On April 10, 1918, John Charles Linthicum, U.S. Congressman from Maryland, introduced a bill to officially recognize "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem.[22] The bill did not pass.[22] On April 15, 1929, Linthicum introduced the bill again, his sixth time doing so.[22] On November 3, 1929, Robert Ripley drew a panel in his syndicated cartoon, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, saying "Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem".[23]

In 1930, Veterans of Foreign Wars started a petition for the United States to officially recognize "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem.[24] Five million people signed the petition.[24] The petition was presented to the United States House Committee on the Judiciary on January 31, 1930.[25] On the same day, Elsie Jorss-Reilley and Grace Evelyn Boudlin sang the song to the Committee to refute the perception that it was too high pitched for a typical person to sing.[26] The Committee voted in favor of sending the bill to the House floor for a vote.[27] The House of Representatives passed the bill later that year.[28] The Senate passed the bill on March 3, 1931.[28] President Herbert Hoover signed the bill on March 4, 1931, officially adopting "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States of America.[1] As currently codified, the United States Code states that "[t]he composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem."[29]

Modern history

Performances

Usnationalanthemcrowd
Crowd performing the U.S. national anthem before a baseball game at Coors Field

The song is notoriously difficult for nonprofessionals to sing because of its wide range – a 12th. Humorist Richard Armour referred to the song's difficulty in his book It All Started With Columbus.[30]

In an attempt to take Baltimore, the British attacked Fort McHenry, which protected the harbor. Bombs were soon bursting in air, rockets were glaring, and all in all it was a moment of great historical interest. During the bombardment, a young lawyer named Francis Off Key [sic] wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", and when, by the dawn's early light, the British heard it sung, they fled in terror.

— Richard Armour

Professional and amateur singers have been known to forget the words, which is one reason the song is sometimes pre-recorded and lip-synced. Other times the issue is avoided by having the performer(s) play the anthem instrumentally instead of singing it. The pre-recording of the anthem has become standard practice at some ballparks, such as Boston's Fenway Park, according to the SABR publication The Fenway Project.[31]

"The Star-Spangled Banner" has been performed regularly at the beginning of NFL games since the end of WWII by order of NFL commissioner Elmer Layden, according to History.com .[32] According to same article, the song has been intermittently performed at baseball games since after WWI It has also been popular as performed by orchestra or soloists at other public gatherings. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer both require venues in both the U.S. and Canada to perform both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at games that involve teams from both countries (with the "away" anthem being performed first).[33] It is also usual for both U.S. and Canadian anthems (done in the same way as the NHL and MLS) to be played at Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association games involving the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Raptors (respectively), the only Canadian teams in those two major U.S. sports leagues, and in All Star Games on the MLB, NBA, and NHL. The Buffalo Sabres of the NHL, which play in a city on the Canada–US border and have a substantial Canadian fan base, play both anthems before all home games regardless of where the visiting team is based.[34]

Two especially unusual performances of the song took place in the immediate aftermath of the United States September 11 attacks. On September 12, 2001, the Queen broke with tradition and allowed the Band of the Coldstream Guards to perform the anthem at Buckingham Palace, London, at the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, as a gesture of support for Britain's ally.[35] The following day at a St. Paul's Cathedral memorial service, the Queen joined in the singing of the anthem, an unprecedented occurrence.[36]

200th anniversary celebrations

The 200th anniversary of the "Star-Spangled Banner" occurred in 2014 with various special events occurring throughout the United States. A particularly significant celebration occurred during the week of September 10–16 in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Highlights included playing of a new arrangement of the anthem arranged by John Williams and participation of President Obama on Defender's Day, September 12, 2014, at Fort McHenry.[37] In addition, the anthem bicentennial included a youth music celebration[38] including the presentation of the National Anthem Bicentennial Youth Challenge winning composition written by Noah Altshuler.

Adaptations

Oer the ramparts we watch
O'er the ramparts we watch in a 1945 United States Army Air Forces poster

The first popular music performance of the anthem heard by the mainstream U.S. was by Puerto Rican singer and guitarist José Feliciano. He created a nationwide uproar when he strummed a slow, blues-style rendition of the song[39] at Tiger Stadium in Detroit before game five of the 1968 World Series, between Detroit and St. Louis.[40] This rendition started contemporary "Star-Spangled Banner" controversies. The response from many in the Vietnam War-era U.S. was generally negative. Despite the controversy, Feliciano's performance opened the door for the countless interpretations of the "Star-Spangled Banner" heard in the years since.[41] One week after Feliciano's performance, the anthem was in the news again when U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos lifted controversial raised fists at the 1968 Olympics while the "Star-Spangled Banner" played at a medal ceremony. Another famous instrumental interpretation is Jimi Hendrix's version, which was a set-list staple from autumn 1968 until his death in September 1970, including a famous rendition at the Woodstock music festival in 1969. Incorporating sonic effects to emphasize the "rockets' red glare", and "bombs bursting in air", it became a late-1960s emblem.

Marvin Gaye gave a soul-influenced performance at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game and Whitney Houston gave a soulful rendition before Super Bowl XXV in 1991, which was released as a single that charted at number 20 in 1991 and number 6 in 2001 (along with José Feliciano, the only times the national anthem has been on the Billboard Hot 100). In 1993, Kiss did an instrumental rock version as the closing track on their album, Alive III. Roseanne Barr gave a controversial performance of the anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game at Jack Murphy Stadium on July 25, 1990. The comedian belted out a screechy rendition of the song, and afterward, she attempted a gesture of ballplayers by spitting and grabbing her crotch as if adjusting a protective cup. The performance offended some, including the sitting U.S. President, George H. W. Bush.[42] Sufjan Stevens has frequently performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" in live sets, replacing the optimism in the end of the first verse with a new coda that alludes to the divisive state of the nation today. David Lee Roth both referenced parts of the anthem and played part of a hard rock rendition of the anthem on his song, "Yankee Rose" on his 1986 solo album, Eat 'Em and Smile. Steven Tyler also caused some controversy in 2001 (at the Indianapolis 500, to which he later issued a public apology) and again in 2012 (at the AFC Championship Game) with a cappella renditions of the song with changed lyrics.[43] In 2016, Aretha Franklin performed a rendition before the nationally-televised Minnesota Vikings-Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game lasting more than four minutes and featuring a host of improvizations. It would be one of Franklin's last public appearances before her 2018 death.[44] Black Eyed Peas-singer Fergie gave a controversial performance of the anthem in 2018. Critics likened her rendition to a jazzy "sexed-up" version of the anthem, which was considered highly inappropriate, with her performance compared to that of Marilyn Monroe's iconic performance of Happy Birthday, Mr. President. Fergie later apologized for her performance of the song, citing that ''I'm a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone".[45]

A version of Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Brad Whitford playing part of the song can be heard at the end of their version of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" on the Rockin' the Joint album. The band Boston gave an instrumental rock rendition of the anthem on their Greatest Hits album. The band Crush 40 made a version of the song as opening track from the album Thrill of the Feel (2000).

In March 2005, a government-sponsored program, the National Anthem Project, was launched after a Harris Interactive poll showed many adults knew neither the lyrics nor the history of the anthem.[46]

Lyrics

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 rockets' 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.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry 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![47]

The Star-Spangled Banner - Project Gutenberg eText 21566
Cover of sheet music for "The Star-Spangled Banner", transcribed for piano by Ch. Voss, Philadelphia: G. Andre & Co., 1862

Additional Civil War period lyrics

Eighteen years after Key's death, and in indignation over the start of the American Civil War, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.[48] added a fifth stanza to the song in 1861, which appeared in songbooks of the era.[49]

When our land is illumined with Liberty's smile,
If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that dares to defile
The flag of her stars and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained, who our birthright have gained,
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

Alternative lyrics

In a version hand-written by Francis Scott Key in 1840, the third line reads "Whose bright stars and broad stripes, through the clouds of the fight".[50] In honour of the 1986 rededication of the Statue of Liberty, Sandi Patty wrote her version of an additional verse to the anthem.[51]

References in film, television, literature

Several films have their titles taken from the song's lyrics. These include two films titled Dawn's Early Light (2000[52] and 2005);[53] two made-for-TV features titled By Dawn's Early Light (1990[54] and 2000);[55] two films titled So Proudly We Hail (1943[56] and 1990);[57] a feature film (1977)[58] and a short (2005)[59] titled Twilight's Last Gleaming; and four films titled Home of the Brave (1949,[60] 1986,[61] 2004,[62] and 2006).[63] A 1936 short titled The Song of a Nation from Warner Brothers shows a version of the origin of the song.[64]

Customs and federal law

Star Spangled Banner Plaque
Plaque detailing how the custom of standing during the U.S. national anthem came about in Tacoma, Washington, on October 18, 1893, in the Bostwick building

When the U.S. national anthem was first recognized by law in 1931, there was no prescription as to behavior during its playing. On June 22, 1942, the law was revised indicating that those in uniform should salute during its playing, while others should simply stand at attention, men removing their hats. The same code also required that women should place their hands over their hearts when the flag is displayed during the playing of the national anthem, but not if the flag was not present. On December 23, 1942, the law was again revised instructing men and women to stand at attention and face in the direction of the music when it was played. That revision also directed men and women to place their hands over their hearts only if the flag was displayed. Those in uniform were required to salute. On July 7, 1976, the law was simplified. Men and women were instructed to stand with their hands over their hearts, men removing their hats, irrespective of whether or not the flag was displayed and those in uniform saluting. On August 12, 1998, the law was rewritten keeping the same instructions, but differentiating between "those in uniform" and "members of the Armed Forces and veterans" who were both instructed to salute during the playing whether or not the flag was displayed. Because of the changes in law over the years and confusion between instructions for the Pledge of Allegiance versus the National Anthem, throughout most of the 20th century many people simply stood at attention or with their hands folded in front of them during the playing of the Anthem, and when reciting the Pledge they would hold their hand (or hat) over their heart. After 9/11, the custom of placing the hand over the heart during the playing of the national anthem became nearly universal.[65][66][67]

Since 1998, federal law (viz., the United States Code 36 U.S.C. § 301) states that during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present including those in uniform should stand at attention; Non-military service individuals should face the flag with the right hand over the heart; Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute; military service persons not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note. The law further provides that when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed. Military law requires all vehicles on the installation to stop when the song is played and all individuals outside to stand at attention and face the direction of the music and either salute, in uniform, or place the right hand over the heart, if out of uniform. The law was amended in 2008, and since allows military veterans to salute out of uniform, as well.[68][69]

The text of 36 U.S.C. § 301 is suggestive and not regulatory in nature. Failure to follow the suggestions is not a violation of the law. This behavioral requirement for the national anthem is subject to the same First Amendment controversies that surround the Pledge of Allegiance.[70] For example, Jehovah's Witnesses do not sing the national anthem, though they are taught that standing is an "ethical decision" that individual believers must make based on their "conscience."[71][72][73]

Protests

1968 Olympics Black Power salute

The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was a political demonstration conducted by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After having won gold and bronze medals respectively in the 200-meter running event, they turned on the podium to face their flags, and to hear the American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". Each athlete raised a black-gloved fist, and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Smith stated that the gesture was not a "Black Power" salute, but a "human rights salute". The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.[74]

2016 protests

Politically motivated protests of the national anthem began in the National Football League (NFL) after San Francisco 49ers quarterback (QB) Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem, as opposed to the tradition of standing, in response to police brutality in America, before his team's third preseason game of 2016. Kaepernick also sat during the first two preseason games, but he went unnoticed.[75]

NAACP call to remove the national anthem

In November 2017, the California Chapter of the NAACP called on Congress to remove "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. Alice Huffman, California NAACP president said: "it's racist; it doesn't represent our community, it's anti-black."[76] The third stanza of the anthem, which is rarely sung and few know, contains the words, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:", which some interpret as racist. The organization was still seeking a representative to sponsor the legislation in Congress at the time of their announcement.

Translations

As a result of immigration to the United States and the incorporation of non-English speaking people into the country, the lyrics of the song have been translated into other languages. In 1861, it was translated into German.[77] The Library of Congress also has record of a Spanish-language version from 1919.[78] It has since been translated into Hebrew[79] and Yiddish by Jewish immigrants,[80] Latin American Spanish (with one version popularized during immigration reform protests in 2006),[81] French by Acadians of Louisiana,[82] Samoan,[83] and Irish.[84] The third verse of the anthem has also been translated into Latin.[85]

With regard to the indigenous languages of North America, there are versions in Navajo[86][87][88] and Cherokee.[89]

Media

(1940)
(1944)

See also

  • In God We Trust
  • O Say Can You See (disambiguation)
  • By the Dawn's Early Light (disambiguation)
  • What So Proudly We Hailed (disambiguation)
  • Twilight's Last Gleaming (disambiguation)
  • Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars (disambiguation)
  • Through the Perilous Fight (disambiguation)
  • Rockets' Red Glare (disambiguation)
  • Bombs Bursting in Air (disambiguation)
  • Gave Proof Through the Night (disambiguation)
  • Land of the Free (disambiguation)
  • Home of the Brave (disambiguation)

References

  1. ^ a b ""Star-Spangled Banner" Is Now Official Anthem". The Washington Post. March 5, 1931. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Defence of Fort M'Henry | Library of Congress". Loc.gov. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  3. ^ "My country 'tis of thee [Song Collection]". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  4. ^ Snyder, Lois Leo (1990). Encyclopedia of Nationalism. Paragon House. p. 13. ISBN 1-55778-167-2.
  5. ^ Estrella, Espie (September 2, 2018). "Who Wrote "America the Beautiful"? The History of America's Unofficial National Anthem". thoughtco.com. ThoughtCo. Retrieved November 14, 2018. Many consider "America the Beautiful" to be the unofficial national anthem of the United States. In fact, it was one of the songs being considered as a U.S. national anthem before "Star Spangled Banner" was officially chosen.
  6. ^ British Rockets at the US National Park Service, Fort McHenry National Monument, and Historic Shrine. Retrieved February 2008. Archived April 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "John Wiley & Sons: 200 Years of Publishing – Birth of the New American Literature: 1807–1826". Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  8. ^ "Defence of Fort M'Henry". The Analectic magazine. 4: 433–434. November 1814. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  9. ^ "When the Warrior Returns – Key". Potw.org. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ Blackburn, Robin (1988). The Overthrdow of Colonial Slavery, 1776–1848. pp. 288–290.
  11. ^ a b c Mark Clague (2016-08-31). "'Star-Spangled Banner' critics miss the point". CNN.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  12. ^ "Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery". Theintercept.com. 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  13. ^ "Is the National Anthem Racist? Beyond the Debate Over Colin Kaepernick". The New York Times. 3 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 November 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "'The Star-Spangled Banner' and Slavery". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  15. ^ Clague, Mark, and Jamie Vander Broek. "Banner moments: the national anthem in American life". University of Michigan, 2014. 4.
  16. ^ "Oratorio Society of New York – Star Spangled Banner". Oratoriosocietyofny.org. Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  17. ^ "Standardization Manuscript for "The Star Spangled Banner" | Antiques Roadshow". PBS. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  18. ^ Plaque, Fort Meade, erected 1976 by the Fort Meade V.A. Hospital and the South Dakota State Historical Society
  19. ^ a b Cavanaugh, Ray (July 4, 2016). "The Star-Spangled Banner: an American anthem with a very British beginning". The Guardian. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
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Further reading

  • Ferris, Marc. Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. ISBN 9781421415185 OCLC 879370575
  • Leepson, Marc. What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, a Life. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. ISBN 9781137278289 OCLC 860395373

External links

Historical audio

Adams and Liberty

"Adams and Liberty" is considered the first significant campaign song in American political history, and served to support incumbent Federalist John Adams in the 1800 United States presidential election.

The lyrics are from Robert Treat Paine, Jr., to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" (the same tune as the patriotic song and future national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner".)

The country is poetically referred to as Columbia, and enduring national greatness depends on avoiding the evils of mercantilism, French alliances (see XYZ Affair), and political faction. Other songs were used in subsequent presidential campaigns.

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort located in the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814. It was first built in 1798 and was used continuously by the U.S. armed forces through World War I and by the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925, and in 1939 was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine".

During the War of 1812 an American storm flag, 17 by 25 feet (5.2 m × 7.6 m), was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment. It was replaced early on the morning of September 14, 1814 with a larger American garrison flag, 30 by 42 feet (9.1 m × 12.8 m). The larger flag signaled American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore. The sight of the ensign inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" that was later set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" and became known as "The Star Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States.

Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Frederick, Maryland who is best known for writing a poem which later became the lyrics for the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

During the War of 1812, Key observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland in 1814. Key was inspired upon viewing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn, and wrote the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry", which was published a week later. The poem was adapted to the tune of the popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven." The song with Key's lyrics became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner," and slowly gained in popularity as an unofficial anthem over the years, finally achieving official status a century later under President Woodrow Wilson as the United States national anthem.

Key was a lawyer in Maryland and Washington D.C. for four decades, and worked on important cases like the Burr conspiracy trial, and argued numerous times before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nominated for U.S. attorney by President Andrew Jackson, he served from 1833 to 1841.

Key owned slaves from 1800, during which time abolitionists ridiculed his words, that America was more like the "Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed". He freed his slaves in the 1830s, paying one ex-slave as his farm foreman. Key publicly criticized slavery and gave free legal representation to some slaves seeking freedom, but also represented owners of runaway slaves as well. Representing both slaves and slave owners is emblematic of his complex relationship with slavery. As District Attorney, Key suppressed abolitionists and didn't support an immediate end to slavery. Referring to blacks as "a distinct and inferior race of people”, he was a leader of the American Colonization Society which sent freed slaves back to Africa.Key was a devout Episcopalian. He was also an author of poetry, and often wrote on religious themes. It has been speculated that the U.S. motto "In God We Trust" was adapted from a line in the fourth stanza of the "Star-Spangled Banner".

Jim Cornelison

James Cornelison (born June 20, 1964) is a professional singer who sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "O Canada" at the beginning of home games for the Chicago Blackhawks, accompanied by organist Frank Pellico. Cornelison started singing the anthem for the Blackhawks part-time in 1996; he has been singing the national anthem for the Blackhawks full-time since 2007. He has also performed the anthem before Chicago Bears home games at Soldier Field during the 2010–11 NFL playoffs, as well as the 2011 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, which fell on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Cornelison also sang at the 2015 NASCAR myAFibRisk.com 400 race at Chicagoland Speedway. Cornelison performed the National Anthem at the Bears' 2016 home-opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. He performed "Back Home Again in Indiana" at the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2017 as well as at the 2018 Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2018. He is planned to sing Back Home Again in Indiana again at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

He frequently sings the national anthem at the opening ceremonies for the Arlington International Festival of Racing at Arlington International Racecourse in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Cornelison graduated from Seattle Pacific University with degrees in music and psychology. He then went on to earn a master's degree in music from Indiana University in 1992. In 1995, he moved to Chicago and joined the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists.Cornelison has won several awards for music, including:

The William Matheus Sullivan Foundation Award

First place in the American Opera Society of Chicago’s 1997 Vocal Competition

The George London Foundation Encouragement Grant

John Stafford Smith

John Stafford Smith (30 March 1750 – 21 September 1836) was a British composer, church organist, and early musicologist. He was one of the first serious collectors of manuscripts of works by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Stafford Smith is best known for writing the music for "The Anacreontic Song", which became the tune for the American patriotic song "The Star-Spangled Banner" following the War of 1812, and in 1931 was adopted as the national anthem of the United States.

KLEN

KLEN (106.3 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a Country music format. Licensed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, United States, the station serves the Cheyenne area. The station is currently owned by Townsquare Media.

The station shares its logo and programming with my country 95.5 KWYY Casper

Each day at noon, the station plays the Star Spangled Banner. In addition, during the noon hour, the station airs "The 90s at Noon", a show that features country music from the 1990s as well as taste of country network.

Know Nothing

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholic, xenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

The Know Nothings believed a "Romanist" conspiracy was afoot to subvert civil and religious liberty in the United States and sought to politically organize native-born Protestants in what they described as a defense of their traditional religious and political values. It is remembered for this theme because of fears by Protestants that Catholic priests and bishops would control a large bloc of voters. In most places, Know Nothingism lasted only a year or two before disintegrating because of weak local leaders, few publicly declared national leaders and a deep split over the issue of slavery. In the South, the party did not emphasize anti-Catholicism, but was the main alternative to the dominant Democratic Party.

The collapse of the Whig Party after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act left an opening for the emergence of a new major party in opposition to the Democrats. The Know Nothings elected congressman Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts and several other individuals in the 1854 elections and created a new party organization known as the American Party. Particularly in the South, the American Party served as a vehicle for politicians opposed to the Democratic Party. Many also hoped that it would seek a middle ground between the pro-slavery positions of many Democratic politicians and the anti-slavery positions of the emerging Republican Party. The American Party nominated former President Millard Fillmore in the 1856 presidential election, although he kept quiet about his membership. Fillmore received 21.5% of the popular vote in the 1856 presidential election, finishing behind the Democratic and Republican nominees.

The party declined rapidly after the 1856 election. The 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision further aroused opposition to slavery in the North, where many Know Nothings joined the Republicans. Most of the remaining members of the party supported the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 presidential election.

Kronos Quartet Plays Sigur Rós

Kronos Quartet Plays Sigur Rós is a studio album by the Kronos Quartet, containing two "audience favorites," "Flugufrelsarinn" (by Sigur Rós) and "The Star-Spangled Banner" (trad., arr. S. Prutsman after Jimi Hendrix). The album is available only as a digital download.

Live at Woodstock (Jimi Hendrix album)

Live at Woodstock is a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix released on July 6, 1999. The album documents most of Hendrix's performance with his band Gypsy Sun and Rainbows at Woodstock Festival on August 18, 1969.

Mary Young Pickersgill

Mary Pickersgill (born Mary Young; February 12, 1776 – October 4, 1857), was the maker of the Star Spangled Banner Flag hoisted over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The daughter of another noted flag maker, Rebecca Young, Pickersgill learned her craft from her mother, and, in 1813, was commissioned by Major George Armistead to make a flag for Baltimore's Fort McHenry that was so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a great distance. The flag was installed in August 1813, and, a year later, during the Battle of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key could see the flag while negotiating a prisoner exchange aboard a British vessel, and was inspired to pen the words that became the United States National Anthem.

Pickersgill, widowed at the age of 29, became successful enough in her flag making business, that, in 1820, she was able to buy the house that she had been renting in Baltimore, and later became active in addressing social issues, such as housing and employment for disadvantaged women. From 1828 to 1851, she was president of the Impartial Female Humane Society which had been founded in 1802, incorporated in 1811, and helped impoverished families with school vouchers for children and employment for women. Under Pickersgill's leadership, this organization built a home for aged women and later added an Aged Men's Home which was built adjacent to it. These, more than a century later, evolved into the Pickersgill Retirement Community of Towson, Maryland which opened in 1959.

Pickersgill died in 1857 and was buried in the Loudon Park Cemetery in southwest Baltimore, where her daughter erected a monument for her, and where some civic-minded organizations later erected a bronze plaque. The house where Pickersgill lived for 50 years, at the northwest corner of Albemarle and East Pratt Streets in downtown Baltimore, became known as the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in 1927. The house was saved through the efforts of many preservation-minded citizens who were motivated by the Centennial Celebrations of 1914.

Nuestro Himno

"Nuestro Himno" (Spanish for "Our Anthem") is a Spanish-language version of the United States national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". The debut of the translation came amid a growing controversy over immigration in the United States (see 2006 U.S. immigration reform protests).

Order of the Star Spangled Banner

The Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB) was an oath-bound secret society in New York City. It was created in 1849 by Charles B. Allen to protest the rise of Irish, Catholic, and German immigration into the United States.

To join the Order, a man had to be at least 21 years old, a Protestant, and willing to obey the Order's dictates without question. Members were Nativists, citizens opposed to immigration, especially by Catholics. They saw Catholics as dangerous, illegal voters under the control of the Pope in Rome. Members invariably responded to questions about the OSSB by claiming that they "knew nothing." This practice caused newspaper editor Horace Greeley to label them "Know Nothings." The OSSB would eventually form the nucleus of the nativist Know Nothing movement which ran candidates in 1855–56 under the American Party ticket.

According to The American Pageant:

Older-stock Americans ... professed to believe that in due time the "alien riffraff" would "establish" the Catholic church at the expense of Protestantism and would introduce "popish idols." The noisier American "nativists" rallied for political action. ... They promoted a lurid literature of exposure, much of it pure fiction. The authors, sometimes posing as escaped nuns, described the shocking sins they imagined the cloisters concealed, including the secret burial of babies. One of these sensational books – Maria Monk's Awful Disclosures (1836) – sold over 300,000 copies.

Performances and adaptations of The Star-Spangled Banner

In the course of the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States, a variety of people have either sung or performed the anthem using a variety of instruments and methods. Some of these methods include using only one instrument, such as a guitar or trumpet. Other methods have included singing the anthem using different vocal ranges or even changing some of the words to show support for a home team or for an event. However, veterans groups have spoken out on occasion about these recordings, mainly calling them disrespectful to the country and to the anthem.

Rainbow Bridge (album)

Rainbow Bridge is a compilation album by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix. It was the second posthumous album release by his official record company and is mostly composed of recordings Hendrix made in 1969 and 1970 after the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite the cover photo and subtitle Original Motion Picture Sound Track, it does not contain any songs recorded during his concert appearance for the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge.

Continuing in the vein of The Cry of Love, the first official posthumous Hendrix album, Rainbow Bridge explores new guitar styles and textures. All the songs, except for a solo studio version of "The Star Spangled Banner", are written by Hendrix and mostly performed with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass.

Rainbow Bridge contains five songs that Hendrix included on proposed track listings for his fourth studio album: "Dolly Dagger", "Earth Blues", "Room Full of Mirrors", "Hear My Train A Comin'" (as known as "Getting My Heart Back Together Again"), and "Hey Baby (The New Rising Sun)". "Room Full of Mirrors" was later added to Voodoo Soup in 1995 and all except the live "Hear My Train A Comin'" were included on First Rays of the New Rising Sun in 1997, which were attempts at presenting the double album Hendrix was working on at the time of his death.

Star-Spangled Banner (flag)

The Star-Spangled Banner, or the Great Garrison Flag, was the garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the naval portion of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Seeing the flag during the battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry", which, retitled with the flag's name from the closing lines of the first stanza and set to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith, later became the national anthem of the United States.

More broadly, a garrison flag is a U.S. Army term for an extra-large national flag that is flown on Sundays, holidays, and special occasions. The U.S. Navy term is "holiday colors".

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a National Historic Trail that commemorates the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. The 290-mile (467 km) trail was named after "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States. Consisting of water and overland routes, the trail extends from Tangier Island, Virginia, through southern Maryland, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay, and Baltimore, Maryland. The trail also contains sites on Maryland's Eastern shore.

Activities on the trail include hiking, biking, boating, and geocaching on the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail. Sites on the trail include towns raided and/or burned by the British, battles and engagements, museums, and forts.

It was authorized by the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.

The Star Spangled Banner (Whitney Houston recording)

"The Star Spangled Banner" is a charity single recorded by American singer Whitney Houston to raise funds for soldiers and families of those involved in the Persian Gulf War. Written by Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the National Anthem of the United States. The musical arrangement for Whitney Houston's rendition was by conductor John Clayton. The recording was produced by music coordinator Rickey Minor, along with Houston herself. The recording was included in the 2014 CD/DVD release, Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances and the US edition of the 2000 release, Whitney: The Greatest Hits.

Traditionally performed at sports games in the US, "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed by Houston at the original Tampa Stadium for Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Houston donated her portion of the proceeds.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Arista Records re-released Houston's "The Star Spangled Banner". She once again donated her share of the royalties, as did Arista Records, towards the firefighters and victims of the terrorist attacks. This time the single peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100, and was certified platinum by the RIAA. This made Houston the first musical act to take the national anthem Top 10 in the US, and have it certified platinum. The 2001 re-release of the single was Houston's last Top Ten hit on the US Hot 100 during her lifetime.

To Anacreon in Heaven

"The Anacreontic Song", also known by its incipit "To Anacreon in Heaven", was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. Composed by John Stafford Smith, the tune was later used by several writers as a setting for their patriotic lyrics. These included two songs by Francis Scott Key, most famously his poem "Defence of Fort McHenry". The combination of Key's poem and Smith's composition became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner", which was adopted as the national anthem of the United States of America in 1931.

What We So Proudly Hail

What So Proudly We Hail is a compilation album of phonograph records by Bing Crosby released in 1946 featuring songs that were sung by Crosby in an American-type patriotic style. This album featured Bing singing patriotic songs such as: "Ballad for Americans", "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner". The songs were later presented in a 33 1/3 rpm split set with The Man Without a Country.

National anthems of North America
Independent countries
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National anthems of Oceania and the Pacific Islands
National anthems
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