National Anthem

During the defense of Fort McHenry by American forces during the British attack on September 13, 1814 Francis Scott Key wrote the poem which was to become our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The poem was written to match the meter of the English song, To Anacreon in Heaven. In 1931 the Congress of The United States enacted legislation that made The Star-Spangled Banner the official National Anthem.

Conduct during the playing of the National Anthem (1) when the flag is displayed-- (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and (C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed (U.S. Code Title 36 Subtitle I Part A Chapter 3 Sec. 301).

PLEASE NOTE that the Star-Spangled Banner is our National Anthem or hymn; when it is played at a public assembly you should join in singing the National Anthem along with principal singer or orchestra whose function is to lead, not entertain, the assembly. For this reason it is inappropriate to applaud the singing of the National Anthem. It is also inappropriate to make or use sophisticated "concert" versions of the National Anthem.

For more information on the appropriate manner of singing the National Anthem, see the The Code for the National Anthem.

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 rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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, now conceals, now 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! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's 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.

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!