The Star-Spangled Banner



star-spangled-banner The star-spangled banner that Francis Scott Key saw flying over Fort McHenry, now at the Smithsonian,

“The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814) has been the official national anthem of the US since 1931. It is the song you hear when an American wins a medal at the Olympics. It is the song heard at the beginning of ball games in the US, a custom started in 1918 during the First World War.

US schoolchildren are taught to stand during the song, face the flag and put their right hand over their heart. Most are taught at least the first verse. Few know all four verses. In the military you are taught to salute during the song.

Schoolchildren are also taught part of the story behind the song: During the War of 1812, on September 13th 1814, all day and all night, the British navy pounded away at Fort McHenry in the harbour…

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