Quite simply, it's the national anthem of the United States of America. It was written by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 (in Canada it's called "The Anglo-American War" or simply the "American War"). The melody was taken from a British pub song and new lyrics were added. The song is EXTREMELY difficult to sing, and even though many famous people have sung it at sporting events, VERY few have ever got it right.
I was watching the 2004 Summer Olympics on TV. They were being broadcast (taped) from Greece. The U.S. womens soccer team had won the Gold medal in the game finals. When they received their medals in a ceremony most of them joined in a vocal rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It was the most wretched, lousy and downright godawful version of that anthem I ever heard in my life, and I've heard plenty of bad versions. This was the famous 15 minutes for the ladies, since the networks, the press (and the general public pretty much too) don't really give a rat's ass about womens sports, let alone soccer as much as they do about football, baseball and basketball - especially as played by men. A moment of national pride for the U.S.A., forgotten in a flash. And so it goes.
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