National Anthem Day
National Anthem Day on March 3 observes the songs nations around the world have adopted and chosen to represent their national identity. For America, that song is “The Star-Spangled Banner” and has a rich history to match the pomp and circumstance any national anthem should garner for the country it represents. Learn all about the fateful night which inspired our national anthem and find ways to celebrate it today.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY
Let’s take a step back in time to the evening of September 13, 1812. Maryland attorney Francis Scott Key found himself aboard a British sea vessel negotiating the release of Dr. William Beans, a prisoner of war accused of misleading the British troops. While Key’s negotiation was successful, the British troops would not allow him to disembark the ship out of fear he may disclose the Brit’s battle plans to American forces.
So, Key and Beans remained on the ship through the night witnessing the intense attack on Fort McHenry. Expecting American troops to have lost the battle, Key was astounded to see the American flag flying over Fort McHenry the next morning. The events of the evening ending in the triumphant flying of the American flag inspired Key to write a poem that ultimately became “The Star-Spangled Banner”, our national anthem.
By the early 1900s, there were several different versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” so President Woodrow Wilson asked the Bureau of Education to standardize it making one official version. The Bureau hired five musicians, including John Philip Sousa, to standardize the song which was first performed on December 5, 1917.
Finally, on March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional order into law making “The Star-Spangled Banner” America’s national anthem. National Anthem Day falls on March 3 annually commemorating the signing of the law.
Recently, in 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem at football games as a form of protest, which sparked new debates about whether this is an appropriate form of social protest or rather an unpatriotic act.
NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY ACTIVITIES
1.Learn the lyrics
Sporting events are more fun if you can sing along, or at least lip-sync, with your fellow Americans plus you may be spotted on TV or the jumbotron; but, really, it’s only appropriate that Americans know the words to our National Anthem.
2.Visit the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
Connecting historical sites across Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, this 560-mile trail takes you over land and water noting key events that led to the Battle of Baltimore, Key’s inspiration for our National Anthem.
3.Display your Star-Spangled Banner
If you are not already flying your American flag throughout the year, take this opportunity to display it proudly and explain to your friends, family, and neighbors the significance of today.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL ANTHEM DAY
A. It brings out individuality
The complexity of the song and difficulty to sing it has resulted in amazingly unique presentations of it; think celebrity performances at sporting events and how they put their own “spin” on their delivery of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
B. It bonds us in patriotism
When the National Anthem is played in public, it is for a celebratory or respectful reason which ignites a strong sense of patriotism. Singing it together bonds us in this display of patriotism.
C. It’s a story of redemption
Key wrote a poem about the triumph of his country through a battle where victory did not seem imminent. His surprise to come out from a night of intense battle with the flag still flying is the story told in these lyrics and reminds us all we won the fight that fateful night!
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