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national anthen

Francis Scott Key
he text was written by the American lawyer and poet Francis Scott  Key  (1779-1843), on board of a British ship during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. On September 13-14, 1814, during the War of 1812, the fort withstood a 25-hour bombardment by the British fleet under Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane. Key had boarded the ship under a flag of truce to arrange the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner held by the British. Francis Scott Key had been temporarily detained during the attack, so he could not pass on any warning about the attack. The sight of the flag still flying on the following morning inspired him to write the poem. First it was printed in a handbill and then in a Baltimore newspaper. The melody to which Francis Scott Key intended his poem to be sung was the tune known as "to Anachreon in Heaven".

The composer of this tune is uncertain. John Stafford Smith (1750-1836), used the tune for an arrangement and is often regarded as the composer of the tune. He gained a reputation as a fine organist and composer. He was a member of the select Anachreon Society. Member have included J.S. Bach and Henry Purcell. In 1780 he composed the music to the societies constitutional song. It was entitled "to Anachreon in Heaven". It was inspired by a 6th century Greek poet and was about the pleasures of wine and love.

On march 3rd 1931, due to the efforts of Mrs. Reuben Ross Holloway and congressman J. Charles Linthicum of Baltimore, the congress made "the Star Spangled Banner" the official national anthem of the USA, although already adopted as such by the Army and Navy.

sheet music

The Star Spangled Banner
music: John Stafford Smith September 1814 words: Francis Scott Key


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 thru 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 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 washed out of of their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave'
From the terror of flight and 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.