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National Anthem Day Is March 3


National Anthem Day Is March 3, Q: Are there any rules about how we should act when the anthem is played?

Actually, there are. They’re in the US Code, too.

In general, if the flag is on display – and it almost always is – you’re supposed to stand straight, face the flag, and cover your heart with your right hand. Men are supposed to remove their hats – and it’s nice when the women do, too – and place it over their hearts.

If the flag isn’t being flown, the rules are the same except you face the direction where the music is playing.

If you’re in the military, you don’t remove your hat, and you salute the flag from the beginning to the end of the song.

Q: Has the Star Spangled Banner always been the US national anthem?

Q: Is there a day of recognition or celebration?

Q: What are the lyrics?

Even professional singers have trouble with the words sometimes. By the way, did you know there are four stanzas or verses? Here they are.

Oh, 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, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ 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 thro’ 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 on 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 wash’d 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 lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause 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!

Q: What’s the National Anthem about?

Francis Scott Key wrote a poem called “Defence of Fort McHenry” the morning after he watched the British Navy bombard Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. At the time, Key was being held under guard by British soldiers.

The battle lasted through the night. Because of the fire and glare from the canons, Key was able to keep his eye on the US flag atop the Fort. That is, until the bombardment stopped during the night. In the morning, he and everyone else looked to the Fort to see if the British Jack had taken the place of the US flag.

When Key saw the “Stars and Stripes” still flying over the Fort, he began to write Defence of Fort McHenry, which later became the Star Spangled Banner.

By the way, you can see the same flag that inspired Key. It’s on display at the National Museum of American History.

Q: When is the National Anthem played usually?

A: The Star Spangled Banner is played at all kinds of events. It’s very common to hear it played:

Q: Which name is right?

Q: Who wrote the Star Spangled Banner?

Francis Scott Key wrote the song. Key was born in what is now the state of Maryland; he was a lawyer and an amateur poet. In fact, the song is based on a poem he wrote, “Defence of Fort McHenry.”

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