National anthem of the United States, was approved by act
of Congress on March 3, 1931. The text was written by the American lawyer
and poet Francis Scott Key aboard a British frigate during the British
bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1814. Key had boarded
the ship under a flag of truce to arrange for the release of a prisoner
held by the British during the War of 1812 and had been temporarily detained
during the attack. The sight of the flag still flying on the following
morning inspired Key to write the poem. First printed in a handbill and
then in a Baltimore newspaper, it soon became a popular song. It was sung
to the tune of another popular song "To Anacreon in Heaven,"
which was attributed to the British composer John Stafford Smith.
God Bless America
This patriotic song was composed by Irving Berlin (1888-1989).
The original version of "God Bless America" was written during
the summer of 1918 at Camp Upton, located in Yaphank, Long Island. He
intended to use it in his Ziegfeld-style revue, Yip, Yip, Yaphank. The
original lyric declared: "Make her victorious on land and foam, God
Bless America...." However, Berlin eventually decided that the solemn
tone of "God Bless America" was somewhat out of keeping with
the more comedic elements of the show and the song was set aside. It was
in the fall of 1938, as war was again threatening Europe, that Berlin
decided to write a "peace" song. Then he recalled his "God
Bless America" from twenty years earlier. He made some alterations
to reflect the different state of the world, and God Bless America
was born. Singer Kate Smith introduced the revised "God Bless America"
during her radio broadcast on Armistice Day, 1938. The song was an immediate
sensation. Its sheet music was in great demand. As a result, Berlin soon
established the God Bless America Fund, dedicating the royalties to the
Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
America, the Beautiful
Katharine Lee Bates wrote the first version of this song in 1893 after
she made an exhausting trek up Pike's Peak. She remarked that the view
was breathtaking and showed how beautiful America is.
The final version was completed in 1913
Stars and Stripes Forever
This is the official march of the United States (Title 36, Section 10,
Paragraph 188 of the United States Code). It was written on Christmas
Day, 1896 by John Philip Sousa. Sousa wrote many famous patriotic marches.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Julia Ward Howe wrote this song after having visited some of the Union
troops with her doctor husband during the Civil War. Often she had thought
of making new lyrics for the popular song, "John Brown's Body."
Early one morning, new words came to her.
My Country Tis of Thee This favorite American patriotic hymn was written by the Reverend
Samuel Francis Smith, and sung publicly for the first time in Boston in
1832. The secular world best remembers Smith as the lyricist for My
Country Tis of Thee, although he wrote several other hymns.
The tune to this hymn was first popular in England as "God Save the