Today is National Anthem Day commemorating the day in 1931 when the United States adopted “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem.

The song started as a poem written by Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the British Naval attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry in September of 1814.

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The Battle Backstory

7-13-1814: hour after hour, all thru the night, the British Navy's cannons roared, hurling more than15-hundred of the Brits crushing 190-pound shells at the Fort and its 1,000 inhabitants.  As the bombs "burst in air", a coastal storm rained down on the Fort as well, making for a lethal stew in the skies and inside the walls.

On the morning of the next day, assuming the Fort was softened up from the bombardment and ready for a takeover, a British landing party attacked but the Americans held and repelled the Brits. In celebration an oversized American flag was raised replacing the storm flag which had flown during battle.  The War of 1812 would end five months later in February.

Francis Scott Key watched it all from a ship in the bay and was moved to record his thoughts and emotions which were later published by his brother-in-law as a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry."

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bomb 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?

 

(Three more stanzas HERE)

The folks at the  Classic FM website know a thing or two about music and they put together a list of the 8 most memorable renditions of the America's anthem including:

Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl, Beyonce at President Obama's Inauguration and double dipper Lady Gaga at BOTH the 2016 Super Bowl AND the 2021 Biden Inauguration. (other similar lists include Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969)

Whitney gets my vote for the best all-time! Pure Joy!!

But is our best, the best in the world?  Not according to the music reviewer at Classic FM.  He says the top spot goes to Uruguay, then Poland, Russia and Switzerland before the American anthem. I disagree. Check out his list and see if you agree.

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

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