Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The National Anthem

Okay, we all know by now that drunken idiot Christina Aguilera screwed up the National Anthem on Superbowl Sunday in front of 111 Million people. But here are a few more facts about our National Anthem.

1) The lyrics are from the 1814 poem by Francis Scott Key called "Defence of Fort McHenry.

2) Key was inspired to write the poem after witnessing British Royal Navy ships, in Chesapeake Bay, bombard the hell out of Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, during the War of 1812.

3) The tune we sing today is, ironically, from a British drinking song from the 1700's!

4) In a version hand-written by Francis Scott Key in 1840, the third line reads "Whose bright stars and broad stripes, through the clouds of the fight."

5) The fourth stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner" includes the line "And this be our motto, In God is our Trust", which the United States chose as its national motto in 1956.

6) The "Star-Spangled Banner" was performed as early as 1897 at opening day ceremonies in Philadelphia, but popularized with baseball as the song of the 7th inning stretch at the 1918 World Series.

7) "In 1929 Robert Ripley published "Believe it or Not, America has no National Anthem". Prompted by this "embarrassment" The Star Spangled Banner" became our National Anthem by congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

8) You can visit the original flag flown over Fort McHenry. It is on display in the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

9) The 1968 Jimi Hendrix instrumental version of The National Anthem is friggin' awesome.

10) Marvin Gaye sang a bluesy version at the NBA All-Star game in 1983, just a year before he was killed.

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 through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through 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 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, 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 washed 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 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!

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