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The Anthem of the United States

According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171, During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

Read the text about the history of the American anthem. Make five questions based on the text and ask your partner to answer them.

In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to Fort McHenry at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th trying to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. The two were kept on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem titled “Defense of Fort McHenry”.

The poem was set to music that had originally been written by English composer John Stafford Smith for a song titled “The Anacreontic Song”. Soon afterward the “Defense of Fort McHenry” became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Although the song was immediately popular, it remained just one of several patriotic songs until it was officially named the national anthem by Congress on March 3, 1931.

Until 1931, there was no officially proclaimed anthem of the United States. Several songs served this purpose at official functions, for example, the song “Hail Columbia!” and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (which has the same tune as the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”).


2. Match the words and their definitions.

1. attempt (v.) 2. capture (v.) 3. defeat (n.) 4. fleet (n.) 5. inspire (v.) 6. negotiate (v.) 7. proclaim (v.) 8. raid 9. release (n.) 10. troops (n.) 11. tune (n.) a) soldiers in an organized group b) a group of ships, or all the ships in a navy c) to discuss something in order to reach an agreement, especially in business or politics d) when someone is officially allowed to go free, after being kept somewhere e) to catch a person and keep them as a prisoner f) to try to do something, especially something difficult g) failure to win or succeed h) to encourage someone by making them feel confident and eager to do something i) to say publicly or officially that something important is true or exists j) a series of musical notes that are played or sung and are nice to listen to k) a short attack on a place by soldiers, planes, or ships
Did you know? One of the best known American authors of the 1920s and ‘30s, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, was named for his distant ancestor, Francis Scott Key, the composer of the American National Anthem.

People sometimes criticize the Unites States’ national anthem because it’s a song about war, and it’s difficult to sing. Listen to the first verse of the anthem (there are four of them in its full version) and complete the gaps in the lyrics with the words you hear.

Date: 2015-02-28; view: 443

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