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A Coach's Patriotic Lesson On The Basketball Court

Mar 12, 2016 By Archit Tripathi

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. Its lyrics are taken from the poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," originally penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814. Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, wrote it after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy, firing from the Baltimore Harbor. During the fierce battle (one of many during the War of 1812), Key spotted a large American flag (the Star-Spangled Banner) flying triumphantly over the fort, inspiring him to write those immortal words.

The actual tune of the song comes from the British song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," written by John Stafford Smith in 1780. The tune was originally written for a men's social club, and numerous versions with alternate lyrics were already quite popular in the United States. The combination of Key's lyrics and Stafford's tune proved to be a powerful one - if Billboard had existed back then, it would have been a chart-topper.

The song remained quite popular for many years, but didn't become the official national anthem of the United States until President Herbert Hoover signed the congressional resolution declaring it as such on March 3, 1931. Over the years, the song has come to mean so much to so many, especially the brave men and women in the armed services. So, when Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams noticed that some of his players weren't giving it the respect it was due, he brought in some special guests to illustrate how important it is to respect the anthem. This is a lesson these young men won't soon forget.

H/T: Virginia Tech Athletics

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