Home of the Brave

Gentlemen and ladies, please remove your hats for the singing of our national anthem.

We sing it at the beginning of sporting events, during worship services, at memorials for veterans, and in grade school music class. The first verse of this song gets all the fame, oftentimes springing from the throats of our most talented singers who are chosen to step up to a mic and belt the tune. The rest of us stand and face the flag while mumbling the familiar words, bursting in applause as soon as the singer draws out “hooooome of the braaaaaaaave.”

The Star-Spangled Banner, words penned by Francis Scott Key, has become synonymous with patriotism. The poem was written in 1814 and was put to the tune of a British drinking song by John Stafford Smith. By President Herbert Hoover’s signature, it became officially recognized as the United State’s national anthem on March 3, 1931. In 2009, nationalism has certainly changed if not dwindled in the U.S.A., but, for many of us, The Star-Spangled Banner will always hold a special spot in our hearts, if only for it signaling the start of a baseball game in the middle of the summer.

Here are some recommended items on Internet Archive focused on the national song:


  • An oral history of Francis Scott Key followed by the song
  • A classic instrumental rendition of the anthem
  • Blues Travelers’ version performed in 1989
  • The Star-Spangled Banner, 1915
  • A version performed by Guster in 2006
  • Watch

  • A short film from the 1940s, a sort of ode to the American flag
  • A film from 1942 showcasing military clips and fireworks
  • Read

  • The Centenary of the Star-Spangled Banner
  • An Essay on the Star-Spangled Banner and National Songs
  • Francis Scott Key Author of the Star Spangled Banner: What Else He Was and Who
  • Poems of the Late Francis S. Key
  • –Cara Binder

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    8 thoughts on “Home of the Brave

    1. Hildesheimer

      During the war of 1812 was key witness of the British bombardment on Fort McHenry in Baltimore. He was aboard a British warship had been brought to the release of a friend to obtain the load presented to you, British deserters to have given shelter. The British High Command has declared itself ready, both freely again, but for security reasons they were on night leave on board, while the fleet attacked the fort.

      When he was in the morning the flag of the United States is still above the fortress breeze saw inspired him to the poem The Defense of Fort McHenry, where he will and the resistance of the victory of his fellow countrymen celebrated.

      Later, a popular piece of music among them placed (To Anacreon in Heaven by English composer John Stafford Smith) and 1931 under the name of The Star-Spangled Banner to the American national anthem done.

      In honor of Francis Scott Key’s notified the United States Navy nuclear submarine, the USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657).

      He was the Urgroßonkel of the writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald.

    2. paul and jean

      I remember this so well, when the people would stand up before the movie began, and they would place their right arm across their chest and would sing along with the words flashed on the screen and with the Technicolor image of the flag. How different everything is now! All gone.

    3. Justan American

      Americans NEVER used to place their right hands over their heart during the playing of the National Anthem.

      As children we were taught to stand remove hats if they were being worn and be respectful during the playing of the National Anthem.

      The ONLY time Americans placed their right hands over their hearts was during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

      It was only recently when the politicians attempted to appear patriotic while they sold the country out ,they get it wrong and started placing their hands over their hearts during the playing of this anthem.

      Strangely, the only one who”got it right” was Barack Obama.

      He always just stood respectfully.

      1. George P

        Barack Obama DID NOT get it right. An amendment included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, signed into law by President Bush on Oct 14, 2008, states that during the playing of the national anthem “All other persons (other than uniformed members of the Armed Forces) should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart”.

    4. michael

      This is one of thoses facts that you may never uses but it just might come in handy one day. Never knew, the tune of a British drinking song, you just never know what you will learn on the Internet.

    5. steve

      “Justan American” is mistaken. Obama did NOT get it right, and it is just one of the many gaffes BO has made. This is the protocol concerning the playing of the National Anthem (with or without a flag present) and for the passing of the flag in parade or ceremony. From my childhood… born in ’49, it has always been this way among those who respect the flag and anthem. You can research this issue for yourself online. Just do some homework.

      The Salute
      To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.
      The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
      The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

    6. sports chalet coupon

      I love hearing that sound before every football, basketball, hockey, and baseball game! It is a great patriotic song, and should be sung at more places. Thanks for the history as well. I had no clue that the tune was originally a drinking song.

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