The Star Spangled Banner
Our National Anthem

Words by Francis Scott Key 1814
Written while sitting on a ship in Baltimore Harbor

On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key, resident of Georgetown in the Washington City area, was asked to visit the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay. It was hoped that he could talk the British into releasing Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington City and the White House. He did get Dr. Beanes released but because Key had seen imminent British battle plans, they kept Key detained on a ship overnight during their relentless shelling of Fort McHenry, which was defending Baltimore. In the morning, Francis Scott Key was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion. First published under the title "Defense of Fort M'Henry,"the poem soon attained wide popularity as sung to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven." which is thought to have been written by John Stafford Smith, a British composer born in 1750. "The Star-Spangled Banner"was adopted by the United States Navy and Army as the national anthem. In 1931, by act of Congress, it was officially made the American National Anthem ...... MaryCarol

See ORIGINAL handwritten copy
written by Francis Scott Key

 Words to The Star-Spangled Banner

 O 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 free-men shall stand
 Between their lov'd home 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 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!



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