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The Star-Spangled Banner

History:  During the War of 1812, on September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington D.C. The release was secured, but Key was detained on ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore.

In the morning, he was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion. Entitled "The Star Spangled Banner", the poem soon attained wide popularity as sung to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven". The origin of this tune is obscure, but it may have been written by John Stafford Smith, a British composer born in 1750.

"The Star Spangled Banner" was officially made the National Anthem by Congress in 1931, although already adopted as such by the Army and Navy.

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7-year old sings the National Anthem!

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The Star-Spangled Banner

Lyrics - Francis Scott Key

First Verse

Oh, 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 rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse

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 in the stream;
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Third Verse

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 footstep's 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.

Fourth Verse

Oh, thus be it ever when free men 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 Pow'r 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!

The following verse was sung by Sandi Patti

And still we can see as the years have gone by:
There's a dream in our land, and it's flame is still burning.
And the lantern of hope from the harbor still shines;
Those who seek to be free to it's light are still turning.
Now we look to the skies, and we lift up our eyes,
For we know with the dawn we will see our flag rise!
And this is our Star-Spangled Banner unfurled
As a light to the free, and a hope to the world!

The Veteran's Book Shelf - Featuring a listing of more than 1000 books, both non-fiction and fiction, about veterans and other related topics.
Visit Larry's Book Store for a large selection of "relationship" books, music and more.

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You will find more patriotic links in the "Veteran's Day Links" box (upper left).

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