The Star-Spangled Banner

The national anthem of the US, which is sung by Miss Patty and Babette at the hockey game.

The lyrics come from the “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a 1814 poem by lawyer Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large US flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying above the fort during the US victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song by John Stafford Smith, called “To Anacreon in Heaven”, which was already popular in the US. “The Star-Spangled Banner” soon became a well-known US patriotic song, famously known for being very difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was first recognised for official use by the US Navy in 1889. In 1931 it became the official national anthem of the US.

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