The Star Bangled Banner
"Our National Anthemn"

      "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defense of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

      The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "The Anacreontic Song" (or "To Anacreon in Heaven"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key's poem and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

     "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

      I just wonder how many of our citizens have ever sung or even learned all four stanzes or verses of the Star Bangled Banner. I know when I was in the seventh grade In Shinnston Grade School our chorus director was Mildred Riley. Mrs Riley had spent several years in the US Navy when she came to Shinnston to teach seventh grade. Being the chorus director she decided that the we would learn and sing the "Star Bangled Banner" at a sports activity in the grade school. She insisted that we learn all four stanzas and sing them. This did not go over very well with all the other students because, of course, they had to stand and face the flag with their hand over their heart. You should have seen all of the shifting from one foot to the other of the student body and the yawning and looks on the complete student body. Knowing how the kids had been taught by there perants we got through it all very well with nothing more than a few tired feet from standing. The chorus thought it went very well.

      Since that time I have always wonder just how singing all four stanzas before a ball game or at a public function would be accepted by the group. I have seen many times, which makes my blood boil, unrespectful individuals not removing hats. not facing the flag and not placing their hand over their heart. Many just keep on talking like it is an inconvienence to show respect for their flag and the National Anthemn.

      Sadly I read in a news article that a servey was held in a California Elementary School and the students were asked, "What are the last two words of the Star Bangled Banner"? and the overwhelming answer was "Play Ball". What has the younger generation come to. So just in case someone wonders without looking it up what the last two words are of the Star Bangled Banner, and what is contained in all four stanzas of our "National Anthemn".

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through 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?

On the shore, dimly seen through 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!

And where is that band who so dauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed 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!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power 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!

I would like to wish you all, from my house to your's, a very enjoyable and safe Independance Day.

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