BALTIMORE — The “Star-Spangled Banner” has been around since 1814, but it wasn’t until March 3rd, 1931 that the song was adopted as our national anthem. In honor of the 87th anniversary of it becoming the national anthem, here are some facts about “The Star-Spangled Banner” you might not know.
- The song was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key while he was detained at the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, which is why its original title was “The Defense of Fort McHenry.”
- The song originally wasn’t a song at all, but a poem. It was Key’s brother-in-law who realized a few days later that the poem fit to the tune of a popular British drinking song.
- Think you know all the words to the anthem? You probably don’t! The anthem actually has four full verses, though you usually only ever hear the first.
- During the Civil War, the union army translated the lyrics into German, in hopes of recruiting German soldiers.
- Since then, the anthem has been translated into many other languages including Spanish, Polish, French, Italian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Latin, and Native Hawaiian.
- The very first performance of the song at a sports game was at a baseball game in Brooklyn in 1862. But since then some of the most memorable performances have been at sports games, including Whitney Houston’s unforgettable rendition at the Super Bowl in 1991.
Happy anniversary to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our one and only national anthem!