Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Star Spangled Banner, Imagine This, and Ukulele Chords

Posted on: May 14, 2018

This post is an addendum to the post
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/the-defense-of-fort-mchenry-written-this-day-196-years-ago-by-francis-scott-key/

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15 star and stripe flag eleg sbwe 1795-1818 - Copy

Our National Anthem is wonderful story song about an actual historical event. And it is thoughtful, asking questions and leaving each of us with the responsibility to answer those questions for ourselves. I suspect that many folks don’t know the story behind it, why or how it came to be written, maybe not even the words, or what the words mean.

I’ve decided to do my part in helping children know why and how this song came to be written.  My goal is to help children understand the words, what they mean, and to help each of the kids decide for themselves how the National Anthem fits with their understanding of the country and as of themselves as citizens.

I’ve written a short “Imagine This” essay to accompany the song.  I also researched a number of versions and assembled a set of chords to accompany myself with ukulele when I sing it.

I hope you will join me!

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Star Spangled Banner ELEG SBWE w chords
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Words by Francis Scott Key
Traditional Tune
Ukulele Chords Assembled by Emily Gleichenhaus
Drawing by Emily Gleichenhaus
To view or print this page, click here:
Star Spangled Banner ELEG SBWE w chords

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Star Spangled Banner ELEG SBWE no chords
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Words by Francis Scott Key
Traditional Tune
Ukulele Chords Assembled by Emily Gleichenhaus
Drawing by Emily Gleichenhaus
To view or print this page, click here:
Star Spangled Banner ELEG SBWE no chords

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Star Spangled Banner Imagine This ELEG SBWE cover only
OUR FLAG IS STILL THERE
Book supplement for essay
To accompany the singing of STAR SPANGLED BANNER
By Emily Gleichenhaus

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OUR FLAG IS STILL THERE
By Emily Gleichenhaus

Imagine this. Your name is Francis Scott Key. You are a 34 year old American lawyer living and working in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. The date is a Tuesday, September 13, 1814 and your country, the United States of America, is engaged in a conflict with Great Britain that will become known as the War of 1812.

You are being held on a boat of the British Navy, in Baltimore Harbor, just off shore from Fort McHenry. You are there because, a few days before, you traveled from Georgetown to Baltimore to visit the British Fleet, which was now menacingly anchored in Baltimore harbor. Your job was to negotiate (with the permission of President James Madison) the release of your friend and client, Dr. William Beanes, who the British had captured. You were successful in acquiring your friend’s freedom, but with a catch. You were told that the British intended to attack Fort McHenry and that you would not be let go until after the battle was over. The British didn’t want you to give out any warnings as to what was about to happen.

It is now dawn of the following morning. The British have spent the whole night attacking Fort McHenry with rockets and bombs. As the sun is just now sending a few light rays over the horizon, you anxiously look towards the fort. You are struck with pride and relief to see that the American Stars and Stripes flag is still flying over the fort’s walls. Seeing this, you know the Americans have prevailed, for, if the British had seized the fort, they would have run their own flag up that pole.

You are so inspired that poetry fills your head and you set to the task of writing it out. The first verse of your poem (which you set to the rhythms of a popular bar song) is full of questions, as you process the overwhelming emotion about this glorious victory. You assemble poetic words to ask your readers, and posterity, questions like, “Do you see, this morning, in the first light of day, that same flag that we saw bravely flying over the fort as the sun went down last night? Do you see that same flag that we caught glimpses of during the night when flashes of fire from exploding bombs and contrails of rockets briefly lit the sky? Could it really be true that our Stars and Stripes flag still flies over this land and that we can still call it the United States of America?”

The answer to that question in September 1814 was, “Yes!” And, thanks to hard work and bravery of fellow Americans ever since, now, in 2018, the answer is still, “Yes!”

The first verse of Francis Scott Key’s four stanza poem became the American National Anthem in March of 1931, we still sing the song and ask the questions in Francis Scott Key’s famous rhyme,

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
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

Yes. The answer is yes.

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The ukulele work in progress:

Learning uke chords to accompany myself to sing Star Spangled Banner

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Related Posts

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THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/the-defense-of-fort-mchenry-written-this-day-196-years-ago-by-francis-scott-key/

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Star-Spangled Banner, Another Illustrated Rendition, this one from the Smithsonian Institution
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/star-spangled-banner-another-illustrated-rendition-this-one-from-the-smithsonian-institution/

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STAR SPANGLED BANNER ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/star-spangled-banner-on-antiques-roadshow/

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The Defense of Fort McHenry, written this day (September 14, 2010) 196 years ago by Francis Scott Key, became our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/the-defense-of-fort-mchenry-written-this-day-196-years-ago-by-francis-scott-key/

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FLAG DAY, JUNE 14

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/june-14-is-flag-day-celebrate-with-singable-picture-books/

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FOURTH OF JULY AND OTHER HOLIDAYS CELEBRATING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND HER CITIZENS AND HISTORY
A list of Singable Picture Books celebrating the Fourth of July
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/a-patriotic-list-of-singable-books-for-july-4th/

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NATIONAL PARKS (and PRAISE for National Park Rangers)
Singable Picture Books that illustrate songs with origins in locations of United States history which are in the care of the National Park Service
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/in-praise-of-national-park-rangers/

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Smithsonian Magazine, November 2013, 101 Objects that Made America
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/smithsonian-magazine-november-2013-101-objects-that-made-america/

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Girl Scouts Songs for Troop 2740 Songbook Resources Page
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/girl-scouts-songs-troop-2740/

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SINGABLE SITES IN WASHINGTON DC – HISTORY
A list of song titles with links to posts of songs that will enrich your experience, or are directly related to, historical locations in (or near) Washington, DC
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/singable-sites-in-washington-dc-history/

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THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, a Patriotic Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-star-spangled-banner-a-patriotic-girl-scout-song-for-troop-2740/

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MUSICIAN BADGE with Mrs. G for Girl Scout Juniors Troop 2740, the Singable Hike in Washington, DC
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/musician-badge-with-mrs-g-the-singable-hike-in-washington-dc/

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THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, a Patriotic Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-gettysburg-address-a-patriotic-girl-scout-song-for-troop-2740/

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MUSICIAN BADGE with Mrs. G, Meeting Activities, for Girl Scout Juniors Troop 2740: HOW TO SING A SONG FOR PERFORMANCE OR JUST FOR FUN
http://brownietroop2740.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/musician-badge-with-mrs-g/

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Washington DC Singable Hike #1: STAR SPANGLED BANNER (at SMAH) and GETTYSBURG ADDRESS  (at LM) 
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/washington-dc-singable-hike-1-star-spangled-banner-at-smah-and-gettysburg-address-at-lm/

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STAR SPANGLED BANNER POST ADDENDA, 8/21/2014
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/star-spangled-banner-post-addenda-8212014/

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The Rockets’ Red Glare (Celebrating the History of  “The Star-Spangled Banner”), a great addition to collection of illustrated histories and settings of our National Anthem
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-rockets-red-glare-celebrating-the-history-of-the-star-spangled-banner-a-great-addition-to-collection-of-illustrated-histories-and-settings-of-our-national-anthem/

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Robin Williams as the American Flag, a Tribute to his Genius, the Stars and Strips, and the Star Spangled Banner
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/robin-williams-as-the-american-flag-a-tribute-to-his-genius-the-stars-and-strips-and-the-star-spangled-banner/

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KEEP ON SEWING BETSY ROSS, an Illustrated Song
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/keep-on-sewing-besty-ross-a-fun-song-about-the-first-american-flag/

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The Star Spangled Banner, Imagine This, and Ukulele Chords (5/14/2018)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/the-star-spangled-banner-imagine-this-and-ukulele-chords/

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