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It’s National Anthem Day! In 1814, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Key penned the verses after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The sight of the American flag flying triumphantly over Fort McHenry in the morning inspired his legendary words.
Key decided to set his piece to music, and borrowed the tune from a popular song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Not long after it was first published, people began referring to the piece as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The song became an overnight success, and bands began playing it during public events and military occasions. In March of 1931, over a hundred years after Key wrote it, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the official national anthem of the United States.
Do you know all of the words to the national anthem (including verses two, three, and four)? Today's a great day to refresh your memory. Happy National Anthem Day!