(1) ' The national anthem of the United States, based on the poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry", written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the British Royal Navy's Chesapeake Bay bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The poem -- set to the tune of a popular British song, and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" -- soon became a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today. "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. ' -- Wikipedia
(2) According to Kurt Vonnegut, the American national anthem is "pure balderdash", "gibberish sprinkled with question marks". (Which still doesn't prevent me from waxing sentimental over "Old Spangles", but then again I remain fond of ""Waltzing Matilda" -- once called "the unofficial national anthem of Australia" -- the jolly swagman's song now axed by the newly prim-and-proper Ozzies). -- Dinkum
' Trout and Hoover were citizens of the United States of America, a country which was called America for short. This was their national anthem, which was pure balderdash, like so much they were expected to take seriously:
' "O, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
thru the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watched were so
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs
bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our
flag was still there.
O, say does that star-spangled banner
O'er the land of the free and the home
of the brave?"
' There were one quadrillion nations in the Universe, but the nation Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout belonged to was the only one with a national anthem which was gibberish sprinkled with question marks. '
-- From Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel "Breakfast of Champions" -- Chapter 1 (pages 7 - 8).
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