Culture: Star Spangled Banner


Andy-弘安迪 8:56 AM

Continuing on this week long theme on 4th of July topics, we have a new lesson today…

Today’s lesson is on the USA’s national anthem. “Anthem” means a lively, ethusiastic and uplifting song associated with a particular group of people of their cause. In this case, the national anthem is the national song that makes us feel patriotic in the USA.

China’s national anthem is “义勇军进行曲”。 USA’s national anthem is a song and poem called “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Here’s a picture of the original lyrics written by Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner.

Star Spangled Banner

You may wonder, what does “Star-Spangled Banner” mean?

Star (星 xīng)

Spangle(金光闪烁 jīn guāng shǎn shuò) = is shiny, sparkling objects

Banner (旗 qí) is a less common word for ‘Flag’

What is the song about?

It describes a military battle at Fort M’Henry between Britain and USA, where USA eventually won the fight. Shortly before this fight, in the year 1814 Britain attacked USA and burned most of Washington DC including the White House was burned in huge fires. They also attacked another American city – Alexandria.

The battle at Fort M’Henry lasted a day and into the night. The poem describes what you would have seen at night as the British military attacked and attacked fiercely. And describes the great feeling Americans had the next morning when the battle ended, a very large USA flag was raised in the Fort, showing they had survived and would not be defeated by the British!

The song is very long, when you hear it at sporting events like Baseball games and football games, you are only hearing the first 25% of the song 🙂

Give it a listen and see the words with the music…

Link to QQ Music: The Star Spangled Banner (Live from Super Bowl XXV) 

To practice your English speaking skills please record your voice with me on the first four lines of the song:

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,
Over the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming