Students mark National Anthem anniversary

Sept. 15, 2005 at 10:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Hundreds of school children across the United States celebrated the 191st anniversary of the "The Star-Spangled Banner" by learning its history.

It was on Sept. 13, 1814, that Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key, being held prisoner on a British ship, watched the bombardment of Baltimore. He had expected to see the British in control of the city but when dawn broke, the America flag still was flying and Key was inspired to write a poem.

Those words -- "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- were sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven," and the song was accepted as the U.S. national anthem. Congress made that official in 1931.

A recent poll, however, found that not many people in the United States know the words of -- or the story behind -- the National Anthem, The Washington Times reported Thursday. So the National Anthem Project was formed to teach about "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Schools have been teaching the history of the song and just what the words mean. As part of those lessons, the Times said children in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Missouri, Virginia and Wyoming took part in anniversary ceremonies Wednesday.

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