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The National Anthem

The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
 What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
 Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
 O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
 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 yet wave
 O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
 Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
 What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
 As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
 Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
 In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
 'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
 O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
 Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
 Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
 Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
 Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
 And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
 And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Lyrics: Francis Scott Key, 1814
Adopted: 1931

The National Anthem on youtube

  1. What kind of image of the US is portayed in the song? To which period of US history does the text refer?
  2. There are numerous references to the American ideal in the song. What are they?
  3. Do you think that the idealistic perceptions of that time are still valid today?