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(Taken from U.S. Code, Title 10, Chapter 36, Sec. 171. Conduct during playing.) 
During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.

National Anthem of the United States of America:
“The Star Spangled Banner”
Music attributed to John Stafford Smith
Words by Francis Scott Key

Program Note:
The Star-Spangled Banner was born out of the emotions experienced by Francis Scott Key as he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Key's poem, "Defense of Fort McHenry," came to be sung to the tune of a pre-existing song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," the melody of which is attributed to Englishman John Stafford Smith. The first musical edition was published by Benjamin Carr of Baltimore and titled "The Star-Spangled Banner." With the passage of time the song grew in popularity, and in 1931 an act of Congress made it our official national anthem.

First Verse
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, 
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse
On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream;
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Third Verse
Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our trust"
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Francis Scott KeySent to seek the release of an American civilian imprisoned by the British, attorney Francis Scott Key boarded a ship in Baltimore harbor just before the Sept. 13-14 attack on Fort McHenry. Key was detained during the overnight bombardment. He watched anxiously through the night to see if the American flag was still flying over Fort McHenry. When dawn revealed the flag's presence, Key exultantly began jotting down the lines of the poem that became our national anthem. After the war, Key continued to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Francis Scott Key was a gifted amateur poet and hymnist. Inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry the morning after the bombardment, he scribbled the initial notes for his poem on the back of a letter. Back in Baltimore, he copied the four verses onto paper, probably making more than one copy. The next morning someone printed the poem as a broadside. Shortly afterward two Baltimore newspapers published it, and by mid-October it had appeared in at least 17 other papers in cities up and down the east coast.

The melody to which Francis Scott Key intended his poem to be sung was the popular English tune known as "To Anacreon in Heaven." Written about 1775 by John Stafford Smith, the tune was originally the "constitutional song" of the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen's music club in London named after the 6th-century B.C.E. Greek poet Anacreon. It became extremely popular in America, where it was used to accompany a number of verses, including the patriotic song called "Adams and Liberty," before 1814. Key himself used the tune for his 1805 poem "When the Warrior Returns from the Battle Afar."

Francis Scott Key first published his impressions of the Fort McHenry victory as a broadside poem, with a note that it should be sung to the popular British melody "To Anacreon in Heaven." Soon after, Thomas Carr's Baltimore music store published the words and music together under the title "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song gained steadily in popularity in the years before the Civil War. By 1861 it shared with "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail Columbia" the distinction of being played on most patriotic occasions. Nonetheless Congress did not make the song the national anthem until 1931.