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The Star Spangled Banner

A poem written by Francis Scott Key and later set to music to become the National Anthem of The United States of America.

The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and poet, on September 14, 1814 at the battle of Fort McHenry in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. Key had witnessed the overnight bombardment of the fort by British warships but had to wait until the morning to see if the flag still waved.

When the sun finally arose, to his amazement, Key saw that the American flag was still waving proudly above the fort and wrote the following poem which was later set to music. The first stanza of the poem has since become an inspiring American patriotic song.

The Star Spangled Banner

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' 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 thro' 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 on 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 wash'd 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 free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd 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!

On September 20, 1814, the poem was published on handbills and set to music using a British tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven." Although both the U.S. Army and Navy recognized the Star Spangled Banner as

On March 3, 1931, the U.S. Congress passed resolution (36 U.S.C & 301) which called for making the song the national anthem. The resolution was then signed by President Herbert Hoover thereby making The Star Spangled Banner the official national anthem of the United States of America.

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