National Anthem of United States (Lyrics, History)

The national anthem of the United States is called “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The music for the song was originally written around 1773 by John Stafford Smith. The lyrics were taken from the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The inspiration for the poem and the part taken for use in the national anthem were inspired by the U.S. flag that Key observed during the War of 1812.

The national anthem was first recognized for official use in 1889, although it was not adopted officially until 1931. Prior to this, it grew in popularity as a patriotic song, while hymns were being used during official functions. The national anthem of the United States has four stanzas but typically the first is sung. The song has a theme of patriotism, highlighting what Key felt while watching the flag flu over Fort Henry. The national anthem features a range of 19 semitones, making it one of the most difficult national anthems to sing.


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, through 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 fully 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.