Things You May Not Know About The Star-Spangled…

Francis Scott KeyHappy Fourth of July; a beautiful day here in Chicago! My dad’s birthday is today and if he had lived, he would have been 108! When I was very young, he told me that people shot off fireworks because they knew it was his birthday. I believed him! And I’ll admit that fireworks, even today, remind me of him.

Since our national anthem is so much a part of our American Experience, I thought it would be interesting if I gave you a little quiz on the story of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” This quiz doesn’t need a key (no pun intended) because it has the answers embedded. It is the kind of quiz I wish my teacher used in 8th grade Algebra. Ready?

• The anthem was written during what war? A) War of 1812, B) Viet Nam, C) War of the Worlds.
• Francis Scott Key wrote the words while he was watching what event? A) The World Cup, B) the British bombing Pearl Harbor, C) the British bombing Fort McHenry.
• Where was Key when he was watching this? A) at Rosattis, B) on board a British ship of war, C) at a re-election dinner party with Rahm Emmanuel.
• What was he doing there (besides watching and jotting some words down)? A) picking up pizza, B) as a lawyer, seeking the release of a prominent American doctor taken prisoner by the British, C) sitting with Hilary Clinton.
• Was he successful in his mission? A) yes, he secured freedom for the doctor, but the British did not let him leave the ship before the bombardment because he knew the positions and armaments of the ships, B) no, he was taken to England where he wrote the song, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” which the Beatles plagiarized a few years later.

How are you doing so far? Half way there…

• Fort McHenry was the built to defend what famous port city? A) Boise, ID, B) Wheaton, IL, C) Baltimore, MD.
• What was it that Key saw through his telescope during the bombardment? A) mommy kissing Santa Claus, B) Bill Clinton kissing Santa Claus, C) the over-sized American flag, which the commandant of the Fort said was “so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”
• What happened after the bombardment? A) the British sailed away after releasing Key and the doc, B) the Cubs won the World Series, C) Congress agreed on immigration reform.
• Congress made “The Star Spangled Banner” our national anthem in what year? A) 4 BC, B) 1931, C) they haven’t yet because they can’t agree on the hyphen between “Star” and “Spangled.”
• With what organization did Key have an affiliation? A) the Taliban, B) the SPCA, C) the American Bible Society.
• Extra Credit: What motto did Key urge Congress to adopt? A) Remember the Alamo, B) Don’t Eat Yellow Snow, C) In God We Trust.

If you did not get them all correct, you must view the following top ten worst renditions of the national anthem, especially #1 at the bottom of the list: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-worst-national-anthem-peformances.php

Have a Happy 4th!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I learned today it was also Calvin Coolidge’s birthday. You know ‘Silent Cal’. He probably got up from a nap to blow out his candles!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sally Schnugger on July 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Today is also my father’s birthday. He was born July 4, 1904. One hundred ten years ago. Did you know that our first president (according to Barbara Bernard’s column in today’s Springfield Republican) was John Hanson? Hanson and seven other men served as presidents between 1781 and April 30, 1789 when Washington took office. Happy Fourth of July.

    Reply

  3. I like the poignant part about you and the fireworks.

    Reply

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