The national anthem of the United States of America, whose name is The star-spangled banner, is one of the most representative symbols of the country. In this article, we tell you about its history and its meaning. In addition, we show you some of the most outstanding versions.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

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The United States anthem in Spanish and English


The American anthem is called The star-spangled banner, which in Spanish translates as The Star Filled Flag. The author of his letter was the lawyer Francis Scott Key, who wrote it in 1814.

This man went to Baltimore, Maryland, during the War of 1812, in which the United States was fighting the United Kingdom. Here he was taken prisoner and locked in a ship, from where he witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry.

In the morning, at dawn, Francis Scott Key saw the United States flag wave in the fort, which moved him and inspired him to write the poem that would end up being the country's anthem.

The melody of the song was not original, but was taken from an English folk song called To Anacreon in Heav'nby musician John Stafford Smith.

The official Spanish version is attributed to the Peruvian composer Clotilde Arias, who adapted the lyrics in 1945.

Over the years, the song became popular and was picked up by the US Army and Navy. Later, on March 3, 1931, the United States Congress accepted it as the official anthem.

According to US Law 36/301, during the hymn, people must stand with their right hand on their chest. If you wear a cap or hat, you have to take it off and hold it with your left hand. Likewise, cars must be stopped and members of the Armed Forces and veterans can do the military greeting.

Lyrics in English and Spanish

In English, this is the full letter of the official American anthem. Although it is made up of four stanzas, normally only the first is sung.

Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light
What is 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 rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof 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?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory is now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is the band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave '
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In this video we can hear him interpreted by the singer Beyoncé during the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013:

Also, this is the first stanza of the official version in Spanish, a translation adapted by Clotilde Arias in which the whole meaning of this important song is captured:

Behold! Can you see in the subtle light what stood upright when the Sun went down?
And its stripes and stars in the rough fight, on a strong gallant bastion it undulated!
And when the bomb launched its reddish explosion, at night it showed that the banner was there.
Does the starry banner float happily in the land of valor, in a free country?

Banner is a word used mostly in Latin America to refer to the term flag.

However, there are more extended versions in which the lyrics have been translated in a more literal way. Below, you have the lyrics and a video in which you can listen to one of them:

Oh say you, can you see, with the first light of dawn,
What we salute with so much pride in the last glimmer of twilight,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through dark struggle,
That we observed on the walls, wave gallantly.
And the red glow of rockets, bombs exploding in the air,
They gave proof at night that our flag was still there.
Oh say you, keep flying the starry flag
On the land of the free and the home of the brave.

On the shore, barely visible in the sea mist,
While the arrogant horde of the enemy in fearful silence rests
What is it that the breeze, on higher peaks,
Whimsically it ripples, half hiding, half showing?
Now catch the glow of the first morning ray,
In full reflected glory now shines in the stream:
It is the starry flag! Oh let it fly a long time
Upon the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that strip to which they so ostentatiously swore
May the ravages of war and the confusion of battle
Shouldn't a home and a country leave us anymore?
His blood has cleaned the contamination from his dirty steps.
No shelter could save mercenaries and slaves
From the terror of flight, or from the sadness of the grave:
And the starry, triumphant flag flies
Upon the land of the free and the home of the mighty.

Oh, may it always be so when free men rise
In the midst of their beloved homes and the desolation of war!
Blessed in victory and peace, may the earth rescued by heaven
Praise the power that it has achieved and that has preserved us as a nation.
Then we must conquer when our cause is just
And this is our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the triumphant starry flag will wave
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Likewise, in 2006 a new adaptation was carried out by Latin American immigrants present in the country that receives the name of Our Anthem.

Featured singers

The United States anthem is often performed at major events in the country, including major sports competitions. One of the most famous is the Super Bowl, the final game of the American football league. Some of the most relevant interpreters in this event have been:

  • Whitney-Houston (1991)
  • Mariah Carey (2002)
  • Beyonce (2004)
  • Lady Gaga (2016)

Other famous singers who have ever sung the anthem have been Justin Bieber at a relevant boxing competition in Las Vegas, Marc Anthony at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Demi Lovato at a baseball tournament and Ariana Grande at a league game. American football.

On the other hand, an instrumental version that went down in history was that of the rock singer Jimi Hendrix, who at the 1969 Woodstock music festival performed the anthem on electric guitar in protest against the Vietnam War:

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