For all those of you who lie
A Really Awful Rhyme I’ll try
Lly funny; for if there July,
And you are from the North,
To celebrate there’s reason why –
Get up, and do go Fourth!
Why have I chosen this picture to add to my wishes for a Happy Independence Day?
Because it has a fascinating history, and one which hilariously illustrates how the Americans and British have collaborated whether they like it or not.
On 8th September, 1814 Francis Scott Key, temporarily detained on HMS Tonnant after visiting the day before under a flag of truce to negotiate exchange of prisoners, saw the original ‘Star- Spangled Banner’ flying defiantly over Baltimore after a night of bombardment by the British. The unique views, courtesy of his ‘hosts’, inspired him to start writing a poem, which he finished ashore.
His brother-in-law, Judge Joseph H Nicholson, observed that the words fitted a tune written by English composer John Stafford Smith, The Anacreontic Song, which had also been used in an earlier Key poem from which many of the words of the more recent version were taken.
The song became very popular and was played at many public events. Woodrow Wilson had it developed to present form by, among others, John Philip Sousa, and in 1916 ordered that it be played at official occasions. However, it only became the official National Anthem by order of President Herbert Hoover on 3rd March 1931.
So 117 years before, while at war with America, the British had unwittingly provided the impetus for the writing of the American Anthem, and had also provided the tune!
© Colonialist July 2013 (WordPress)