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National Anthem Day – March 3

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Image by Angelique Johnson from Pixabay

National anthems unite people with common backgrounds.

Bella Singson, Staff writer

On March 3 we recognize National Anthem Day, when we celebrate the songs that nations around the world have chosen to represent their national identity.

For most of us, that son would be “The Star Spangled Banner”. This song was made the national anthem by congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, and signed by President Hubert Hoover.

“The Star Spangled Banner” was first used officially by the Navy in 1889, and was recognized by the President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Before 1931 there was no official national anthem, but a patriotic song called “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” by David T. Shaw was considered representative of the United States. “The Star Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key, recognizes the American flag with lines like “Whose broad stripes and bright stars” and “That our flag was still there.”

The song was written in 1814 during the 32-month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire. Most of the time, only the first verse is sung, but the song has several verses, and some of those lyrics subtly attach the British people: “Foe’s haughty host” and “Foul footstep’s pollution” referring to the British of the early 1800s. If you want to see the lyrics for all of the verses, check out https://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/the-lyrics.aspx

The British, of course, have their own national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” which was composed by Thomas Bracken in the early 1870s.

“Latin American, Central Asian, and European nations tend towards more ornate and operatic pieces, while those in the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and the Caribbean use a more simplistic fanfare,” according to Wikipedia.

One can hear the different anthems played at world games and the Olympics. When the winners are announced and standing on the highest podium, the background music plays the anthem of the country that is identified by the winner.

There are certain protocols people follow when the national anthem is played. While some people argue that you must stand for the song, the American constitution gives us the right to sit or stand during the anthem. Taking a knee has become a familiar stance that athletes take, as a steep divide along racial and political lines became more common.

No matter how you celebrate it, or even if you don’t National Anthem Day is an opportunity to question our patriotism and how we can address it. “The Star Spangled Banner” remains an important piece of history in America, just as other nations sing theirs to honor their homelands with joy and pride.

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