A look inside Music at FPD

A look inside Music at FPD

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Star Spangled Banner!

On Sunday, September 14, our National Anthem turns 200 years old!!  I talked about the event on the announcements this week, and grades 2-4 studied the history a bit more in-depth in music classes.  The "Star Spangled Banner" actually has a very interesting history! Perhaps as a family you'd like to do some more investigating.  I'll give you a few resources in a minute.  

Some Quick Facts: 
  • The "Star Spangled Banner" was written during the War of 1812.  British ships launched attack on Fort McHenry at the harbor of Baltimore, MD on September 13, 1814
  • They shots rockets and cannons for 25 hours! 
  • The battle ended at dawn on September 14, 1814.  
  • Francis Scott Key, a Baltimore lawyer was being held on a British ship during the attack.  He was so inspired by the sight of the flag being raised at dawn (the star spangled banner, he called it), he wrote the poem which would become our national anthem on the back of a letter he had in his pocket.  
  • The "rockets red glare/the bombs bursting in air" gave Francis Scott Key hope through the night "that the flag was still there"--meaning, that the American military had not surrendered. 
  • Key only wrote the lyrics to the national anthem.  He set those to a popular song of the day called "Anacreon in Heaven."  The music was actually by a British man named John Stafford Smith and was first published in 1779. (Look below for a link to hear the original version!) 
  • The "Star Spangled Banner" is actually 4 verses long, but only the first verse is really ever performed. 
  • It became our National Anthem by congressional resolution in 1931.  
  • Pieces of the original flag that flew over Fort McKinley during the battle are still on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  
Here are a few links if you are interested: 

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