The 'Star Spangled Banner' like you've never heard it before

Many Americans have a startling lack of knowledge about their own national anthem.

Studies in recent years show 90 percent of children could not say what a national anthem was, never mind sing it. Neither could 80 percent of adults sing more than three lines.

It began as a poem by Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the bombardment by the British of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. It was set to music using a tune of a popular British song and was recognized by the Navy in 1889 for official use.

President Woodrow Wilson acknowledged it in 1916, and Congress acted in 1931 to make it official.

There have been some differences over the lyrics, especially the third verse, but the commonly accepted words are:

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 thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, 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! Oh 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!

Oh! 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!

It has been performed by a wide range of groups and in a variety of styles, although most performances do not include the latter verses, including the fourth stanza’s description of American as a “heav’n rescued land” with “In God is our Trust” for a motto.

Pick your favorite:

Whitney Houston and “that voice”:

The history:

Jimi Hendrix in 1969:

Listen to the bass player in Madison Rising:

EPIC!

Carrie Underwood:

Lee Greenwood:

The Gaithers:

The president’s Marine Band:

The Cedarmont Kids:

The Red Army choir:

A New Zealand family reacts to the anthem:

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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