Star-Spangled banner: How many verses do you know

Friday, September 14, 2007

Do you know the words to our national anthem?

How about all four verses?

If you're like 70 percent of Americans, you don't know even the first verse.

Evie Caldwell and her Central Elementary music students are trying to rectify that, as part of a National Music Educators project started three years ago.

If you tuned into the KICX radio station this morning, you might have heard them sing the words to "In Defense of Fort McHenry," a poem penned by Francis Scott Key 186 years ago today.

Later set to the tune of an old English pub song, it was popular years before taking on added momentum during the 1917 World Series, when it was sung in honor of the armed forces fighting in the Great War. In 1931, Congress proclaimed it the U.S. National Anthem.

So how many of the words do you know?

For the record, here they are:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro' 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?

On the shore dimly seen thro' 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:

'T is the star-spangled banner: O, 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 wash'd 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.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,

Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;

Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land

Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as 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!

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