National Anthem Day in the United States Date in the current year: March 3, 2024

National Anthem Day in the United States National Anthem Day is observed in the United States on March 3 to commemorate the day when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem.

All independent nations in the world have a national anthem, i.e. a patriotic musical composition that reflects their history and traditions. Those countries that for some reason don’t have an officially adopted national anthem usually have at least a long-standing de facto anthem – a patriotic song that is traditionally played at diplomatic functions, sporting events, etc.

The national anthem of the United States is “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Its lyrics come from Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry” written during the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. A lawyer and amateur poet, Key witnessed the British attack on Fort McHenry in September 1814 and was inspired by the sight of the large United States flag flying above the fort during the American victory.

Key’s poem was subsequently set to the tune of “The Anacreontic Song”, also known as “To Anacreon in Heaven”. It was written by the British composer John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a gentleman’s club for amateur musicians in London. The 18th-century tune was already popular in America by the time Key wrote his poem.

The resulting song was renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner” after a line in the poem and soon became a popular patriotic song despite being difficult to sing due to its range of 19 semitones. Bands often played it at various public events, including Independence Day celebrations, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” eventually became the de facto national anthem. In 1899, it was officially adopted by the United States Navy.

A number of different versions of the song emerged throughout the 19th century, and eventually the United States Bureau of Education was tasked with providing a standardized version by President Woodrow Wilson. It was chosen by five influential musicians and was first played at Carnegie Hall in December 1917.

There were several attempts to have “The Star-Spangled Banner” recognized as the national anthem of the United States. The one that ended up successful was initiated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). In 1930, the VFW started a petition that was signed by five million people. It was exactly the push needed for the United States Congress to adopt “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem. The corresponding resolution was passed on March 3, 1931; its anniversary is now observed as National Anthem Day.

Although National Anthem Day is not a federal holiday, it is observed by patriots across the nation. You can celebrate National Anthem Day by learning more about the history of the American anthem, learning all the four stanzas of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (yes, there are four of them, even though only the first one is traditionally sung), flying the national flag, and posting about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalAnthemDay.

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National Anthem Day in the United States, observances in the US, national anthem of the US, The Star-Spangled Banner