Early Stuff

Here's the Star Spangled Banner Script:

The words to our national anthem started out as a poem entitled, “Defence of Fort McHenry”. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer who had gone to help free a prisoner on a British ship in Baltimore harbor, wrote the poem in 1814. From the ship, he watched all night through the battle with the British near Fort McHenry, to see that the American flag was still flying – indicating that they were still in control of the fort.

The poem was then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song called, “To Anacreon, In Heav’n.

The song quickly became popular and began to be sung at military occasions and sporting events. However, some citizens were against using the famous British tune stating it “wasn’t American enough”, or even “unfit for children to sing”.

Finally, on March 3, 1931, after a twenty-year effort during which more than 40 bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, President Herbert Hoover signed a law proclaiming “the Star Spangled Banner” to be the national anthem of the United States.

Fun Flag Facts!!

Fun Flag Fact #1

A vexillogogist is an expert in the history of flags.

Fact #2

Flying a flag upside down is known as a distress signal.

Fact #3

The Flag Code states that the flag should never be worn. This includes articles of clothing.

Finally, Fun Flag Fact number Four:

When the flag is displayed during the National Anthem, all present should stand and face the flag.

Please rise for the singing of our national anthem, led by the Brooklyn Center Concert Choir.

3. “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Our national anthem was only officially recognized as such by President Herbert Hoover on March 3, 1931. It was based on the melody of a popular gentleman’s song of the 1770s, “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The lyrics we know now were written by Francis Scott Key in 1814.
Key, a lawyer, had gone to help free a prisoner on a British ship in Baltimore harbor. From the ship, he watched all night through the battle with the British near Fort McHenry, to see that the American flag was still flying—indicating that they were still in control of the fort.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” continued to be played at various White House functions through the years. This included an incident recorded at a mobbed New Year’s Day reception during Buchanan’s administration (1857–61) after which one visitor recorded that he “... had the privilege of shaking hands with Miss Lane and having his pocket picked simultaneously in the presence of a strong force of Irish police. All this was accompanied to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner played by a feeble band in an invisible chamber.” Harriet Lane was the unmarried President Buchanan’s official hostess at social events of this nature.
President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921) was especially musically inclined. As a university student, Wilson sang tenor in the Princeton University Glee Club and later in the Johns Hopkins University Glee Club that he helped organize. As president, he had a way of thrilling his listeners by achieving and holding the high note toward the end of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in falsetto. His daughter Margaret, who studied singing at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, made a recording of the national anthem during World War I and sang at several White House concerts.
Another memorable performance took place on June 3, 1921, at the Ellipse, as part of a grand, gala tribute sung to President Warren Harding for his support of National Music Week. There a massive body of children sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” accompanied by five bands, including the Marine Band. The president, visibly moved, said, “I have heard the croon of the young mother to her hopeful in the cradle, the great choruses with their trained voices, the great bands and orchestras, but I have never heard such music as from the sparkling voices of the children of the capital city. It is the supreme music of all my life.”
On March 8, 1929, a joint resolution of Congress approved “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem of the United States of America. This famous tune, beloved by countless Americans, met with opposition. Some citizens thought it “unfit for children to sing,” or “too warlike,” or “not American enough in its origins from an old English drinking song,” or just “not a very good tune.” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” was suggested as a better choice. One man wrote an entire book, published it himself, and sent it to the president. His solution was his own composition. But on March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the act making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official anthem of the United States.

3. started as a poem called defense of fort mchenry
2. set to the tune of a british drinking song
4. march 3rd, 1931 declared the national anthem of the us by Pres. Herbert Hoover
1. written by francis scott key on sept. 3rd 1814

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," to celebrate America's recent victory over the British. However, only in 1931, following a twenty-year effort during which more than forty bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, was a law finally signed proclaiming "The Star Spangled Banner" to be the national anthem of the United States.
The present copy, one of only five known to have been made by Key, is the earliest of four dating from the period 1840-1842 near the end of his life.
Shown here is a copy of the first printed edition combining words and music -- one of only ten copies known to exist.

  • Here are the original lyrics to the British drinking song!!

To Anacreon, In Heav'n

To Anacreon, in heav'n, where he sat in full glee
A few sons of harmony sent a petition
That he our inspirer and patron would be
When the answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
Voice, fiddle and flute, no longer be mute
I'll lend ye my name and inspire ye to boot
And besides I'll instruct ye like me to entwine
The myrtles of Venus with Bacchus' vine.

  • The US is one of the few countries in the world whose national anthem's melody was not written by one of its own citizens. The only other that I could think of is Israel, whose national anthem's words were also not written by an Israeli.