One of the reasons I love to explore different holidays is best summed up by the unforgettable first line of our national anthem: “Oh, say can you see?” You see, there are all kinds of interesting facts about this song that most of us don’t know.
How many of us knew that its author, Francis Scott Key, was an amateur poet? Raise your hand if you knew, before reading this, that he did not write the music. I join you on this National Anthem Day in wondering what other surprises we might unfurl.
Key was inspired to pen “Defense of Fort McHenry after seeing the American flag flying over Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814. The banner proudly soared in defiance of a terrible British bombardment. Its stars and stripes celebrated the courage and determination of our American troops. It would be another year before the War of 1812 came to an end.
Key’s tribute caught national attention in less than a week. When his brother-in-law, Joseph Nicholson, paired Key’s poetry with a popular tune titled “The Anacreontic Song”, newspapers all along the Atlantic Seaboard published the work. It was immediately picked up by the Thomas Car Music Store of Baltimore and sold under a new title, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
On March 3, 1931, Herbert Hoover signed into law the Congressional bill that made it official and gave us National Anthem Day. It took more than 100 years for our country’s anthem to legally become our country’s anthem.
So now you see. Like so many holidays, this one gives us a chance to learn something new, smile at surprising facts about the day and look forward to the next special day on our calendars.
That, my friends, is what I love to do here at HolidayDispatch, and I thank you for being a part of it all.