Tag Archives: National Anthem

Francis Scott Key’s Birthday

Today is Francis Scott Key’s birthday!

Though Key worked as a lawyer in Georgetown, he is most known for writing the words to our national anthem

During the War of 1812, British soldiers bombarded the Americans at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  The next morning at dawn, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and wrote a poem entitled “Defense of Fort McHenry”. He set his words to an already popular tune, “To Anacreon in Heaven” by John Stafford Smith. The song was later renamed “The Star Spangled Banner” and became our national anthem through an Executive order by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and a Congressional resolution signed by President Herbert Hoover in 1931. Key is even responsible for the United States’ national motto, “In God We Trust”, which he wrote in the fourth stanza of his poem.

The first stanza of “The Star Spangled Banner” opens sporting events around the country, and perhaps one of the best vocal performances was by Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV.

Sources: Wikipedia, FrancisScottKey.org

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