The National Anthem

Jennifer Hudson sings national anthem at Super Bowl
Jennifer Hudson sings national anthem at Super Bowl

During the night of September 13, 1814, the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland. Francis Scott Key, a 34-year old lawyer-poet, watched the attack from a deck of a British prisoner-exchange ship. He had gone to seek the release of a friend but they were refused permission to go ashore until after the attack had been made. As the battle ceased on the following morning, Key turned his telescope to the fort and saw the American flag was still waving. The sight so inspired him that he pulled a letter from his pocket and began to write the poem which eventually was adopted as the national anthem of the United States: “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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 on 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 country, shall leave us no more?
Their blood was washed out their foul foot steps 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 e’er when free men shall stand
Between their lov’d homes and war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that has made and presrv’d us a nation
And 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.