March 3, 2012 - National Anthem Day

– U.S.

 A lot of Americans know that the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key about a battle in the War of 1812. What they may not know is that that particular battle occurred in 1814, and the name of the poem was “Defense of Fort McHenry.” There was no tune—it was a poem, not a song.

For years, some Americans sang Key's poem to the tune of a popular British drinking song. Finally, on this date in 1931, Congress designated “The Star-Spangled Banner”—complete with the tune of that old drinking song—as the national anthem of the United States.

Enjoy—sing!—learn more about the national anthem.

  • Here is a nice printable copy of the lyrics. 

  • The Smithsonian has the actual flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about.

  • Listen to three kids sing the quite difficult song.

Also on this date:

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