Sunday, September 14, 2014

Star-Spangled Banner's 200th Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of our National Anthem, adapted from a poem written by an attorney, Francis Scott Key a witness to an event that took place at Fort McHenry on September 14th, 1814. The title of the poem-lyric was originally, “Defence of Fort M'Henry'. Ironically, the poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society in London. Key's poem was renamed 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and would become America's patriotic song; although difficult to sing because of its range of one octave and one fifth semitone more than an octave and a half. The song became the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Craig Seibert wrote an inspiring article about the anniversary, relaying in detail the events that led to inspiring Mr. Key in writing the poem that would become our national anthem.
The following are the poetic words that became lyrics to the National Anthem of the United States:
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 home 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!

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