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“The Star-Spangled Banner,” original manuscript by Francis Scott Key, September 15, 1814

After an anxious night during the British attack on Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key wrote victorious lyrics for a song celebrating the Americans’ resistance. Originally titled “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” it was soon called “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the flag it features.

Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, 54315

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” original manuscript by Francis Scott Key, September 15, 1814

The National Anthem

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” a song based on a poem by Francis Scott Key, was inspired by the American flag during the War of 1812. It became the United States’ national anthem through the efforts of Representative John Linthicum of Maryland. Linthicum introduced his bill in the House of Representatives in 1929. Bolstered by petitions, letters, and telegrams from around the country, he pressed for its passage, saying that an anthem would be an expression of patriotism. In 1931 Congress officially designated the song as the national anthem.

O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

“Star-Spangled Banner,” National Anthem of the United States