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098 What is the name of the national anthem?

98. What is the name of the national anthem?
The Star-Spangled Banner

At the beginning of almost any football, basketball, or baseball game in the United States, people sing the country’s national anthem, or the song that officially represents the United States. This song is called The Star-Spangled Banner. When Americans sing it, they take off their hat, put their hand over their heart (or rest their right hand on the left side of their chest), and sing while looking at the U.S. flag.

The phrase “Star-Spangled Banner” is another name for the U.S. flag. A banner is a long piece of fabric, like a flag. The U.S. flag is star-spangled because it is covered with stars.

The melody (or the musical notes) come from an old British drinking song, or a song that men used to sing after they had drunk too much alcohol. The melody is very difficult to sing, because it has a wide range, meaning that some of the notes are very low and other notes are very high.

The lyrics (or the words that are sung in the song) were written by a man named Francis Scott Key. He wrote the lyrics while watching Fort McHenry, a military place in Maryland, being attacked by the British during the War of 1812.

In the lyrics, Francis Scott Key is asking whether people can still see the flag in the early morning after a long night of being attacked. It is a very patriotic song, or a song that makes people feel proud of their country.

The flag that inspired the lyrics, or made Francis Scott Key want to write them, is called the Star-Spangled Banner and it has become an important artifact (or a historical object that has a lot of meaning). The flag has been restored (or cleaned and repaired or fixed) and is on display (or being shown to people) at the National Museum of American History in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC.


national anthem – a song that officially represents a country
* Do you know all the words to your country's national anthem?

to put (one's) hand over (one's) heart – to rest one's right hand on the left side of one's chest
* The girl put her hand over her chest and promised that she would never tell her friend's secret to anyone.

banner – a long piece of fabric, like a flag
* The business hung a big banner with its logo on the side of its building.

spangled – covered with something that is shiny and captures one's interest
* The dancers wore red spangled shirts.

melody – the main musical notes in a song; the music of a song without the words
* He's such a bad singer that we couldn't even recognize the melody.

range – the size of the difference between the highest and lowest musical notes in a song
* Most people can sing this song easily because it has a very limited range.

lyrics – the words that are sung in a song
* If you can't understand a song's lyrics, try looking for the words online.

patriotic – proud of one's country
* Americans who are very patriotic wear red, white, and blue on Independence Day.

artifact – a historical object that has a lot of meaning
* The scientist found an old stone knife in Colorado that was an artifact from the earliest Native Americans.

restored – repaired; fixed; repaired and made to look like its original condition
* The museum employees have restored the building to be like it was 200 years ago.