Glorious Americana

See if you can identify the verses of our country from the stories behind them:

1. It was written in 1892 to honor Columbus Day and was intended to be a one-time recitation. Its popularity among teachers and children, though, made it an annual holiday tradition and then a daily classroom ritual. In 1954, President Eisenhower added, 'under God.'

2. America acquired its own song after winning independence from England - but the tune is from an English tavern ballad! Francis Scott Key wrote 'The Defense of Fort McHenry,' inspired by a fiery battle in the War of 1812. The poem (written on the back of an envelope) was a hit and quickly became our national anthem.

3. New England poet Katherine Lee Bates completed a poem from Pike's Peak in Colorado that almost became our national anthem. It was from there in 1890 that she saw 'spacious skies.'


(1) The Pledge of Allegiance, 1892; (2) 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' 1814; (3) 'America the Beautiful,' 1895.

SOURCES: 'Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things,' by Charles Panati; 'Myth Information,' by J. Allen Varasdi.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Glorious Americana
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today