Facts About the National Anthem
Andrew Parker - March 21, 2022


By Greta Zwaan

I sought for joy in peace, and rest to ease my weary mind,
Stressed out by such a heavy load, rest I just had to find.
My endurance could hold no more, my limits had been met,
I needed time to stand aside, sweet time to just forget.

But where to find the road to peace, an obscure trait to me;
My hectic lifestyle can't comprehend a way to set time free.
I've always rushed from A to B with no side glace allowed,
I had my life so well controlled; in truth, I felt quite proud.

No one could tell me what to do, I was a self-made man;
My schedules were controlled by me, I had a thorough plan.
'Twas good when all things went my way and no one interfered;
I had no one to answer to, my way was always cleared.

But years of this brought me no joy, though fortunes I'd amassed;
It seemed that all the things I owned would oh, so soon be past.
I had no friends that knew my plight, I kept myself at bay,
They all had troubles of their own; besides, what could they say?

They envied me with all my wealth, they never saw my pain,
I had life altogether, what more was there to gain?
But loneliness is terrible and emptiness is sad,
There seems no purpose for each day, no reason to be glad.

So now I wait; why? I don't know, but life for me must change.
There must be more than fortunes, a way to rearrange.
There has to be a purpose, and someone surely knows,
Why life is complicated, and days so full of woes.

Perhaps you have the answer, perhaps you know the route,
Perhaps you've traveled here before; if so, please help me out.
If need be, I'll be patient, I'll even take advice;
I'll gladly make the changes, no matter what the price.

I don't need independence, I've had my round of that;
I long for understanding, to know just where I'm at.
Someday I hope to thank you because you saw my need,
Perhaps with greater meaning, with purpose, not with greed.

I don't know how I got here, what lies ahead of me,
I'm grateful there'll be changes, I'm grateful to be free.

Everyone knows the American anthem ends with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” But how much do you know about the number one song in the United States? Here are some others you may not know.

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Firstly, an amateur poet and songwriter, Francis Key, composed the ‘Star-spangled Banner,’ known today as the American national anthem. Although Francis Key originally intended for the now-anthem to accompany popular day music, he gave it no title. Then, within a week from when Francis Key sprawled the lyrics of the poem on the back of a letter, Baltimore newspapers printed the poem verses on broadsides. Then, in November, a Baltimore music store published the poem and gave it its now-present title, the Star-Spangled Banner. Key was more than an amateur poet; he was a prominent figure in Washington, running a successful law practice, and served as a trusted advisor in Andrew Jackson’s, “Kitchen Cabinet.” He became a United States Attorney in 1833 and prosecuted several cases. He was also an enslaver but was one of the founders of the American Colonization Society that helped ship thousands of free Black people back to Africa.

The poem did not become the anthem until more than a century after its composition. The Star-Spangled Banner was among the more popular patriotic songs during the war of 1812. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order assigning it as the national anthem for all military events. This order wasn’t immediately signed into law, though, as it went through forty failed attempts, until in 1931 when the Star-Spangled poem was formally designated as the United States’ national anthem.
Although the Star-Spangled Banner has four verses, patriotic and sporting events only use the first verse. Also, the Star-Spangled Banner is one of the most challenging songs to sing appropriately, even as an experienced singer. Some unforgettable renditions of the anthem include Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Kelly Clarkson.