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The Star-Spangled Banner
The national anthem of the United States.
The anthem’s history began the morning of September 14, 1814, when an attorney and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key watched U.S. soldiers—who were under bombardment from British naval forces during the War of 1812—raise a large American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.


The Official National Anthem
Congress passed a measure declaring 'The Star-Spangled Banner' as the official national anthem in 1931.

President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating it 'the national anthem of the United States in 1916.

The US military had adopted the song for ceremonial purposes in the 1890s.

Patriotic 1800s tunes included 'Yankee Doodle' and 'Hail Columbia', but 'The Star-Spangled Banner' became the powerful symbol of national unity.

By the time the song officially became the country’s anthem in 1931, it had been one of America’s most popular patriotic tunes for more than a century.

Rules of the Flag
- No burning and no desecration on public property 

The Verses
Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 entitled 'The Defense of fort M'Henry' in remembrance of the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812.

The Music
Written in 1775 by John Stafford Smith
to honor the ancient Greek poet Anacreon called "To Anacreon in Heaven"

The Lyrics

Oh, 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!

Standing for the National Anthem
The Star-Spangled Banner became integral to sports in September 1918 during the first World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.

When the band struck up 'The Star-Spangled Banner', players and fans all fell silent, stood up proudly, and saluted the flag.

The practice spread across major league baseball and has become the pre-game tradition at all US sporting events.

Star-Spangled Banner

Hear the Renditions - Standing for the Flag

Louis Brandeis
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