National Anthem Day – The Star Spangled Banner Story

american flag postage stampsToday is National Anthem Day, so we’re celebrating with beautiful American Flag postage stamps! In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem, Defense of Fort McHenry. The poem was later put to the tune of (John Stafford Smith’s song) The Anacreontic Song, modified somewhat, and retitled The Star Spangled Banner. Congress proclaimed The Star Spangled Banner the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.

With the National Anthem, most people are familiar with the beginning of a major sporting event, when you face the flag and sing the National Anthem. The American flag and the National Anthem have gone hand in hand since 1968 when Jose Feliciano first sang the anthem at the World Series. Although it created quite a stir because of the unconventional way it was sung, it remains tradition at the beginning of sporting events to face “Old Glory” and try to hit the high note of the National Anthem.

The Star Spangled Banner

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 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 freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d 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 preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause 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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