Did you know "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written when America faced total military defeat? Discover this and other anthem secrets as we travel back to 1814 and reveals its surprising origins.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is known by all, treasured for its powerful melody and stirring lyrics. And yet, only about 40% of U.S. citizens know all the words. And even fewer know their meaning. Join us as we travel back to 1814, when Washington D.C. was under British attack during the "Second War of Independence," and the very bricks and mortar of American democracy were reduced to smoking rubble. We examine the battle that inspired witness Francis Scott Key to immortalize its final moments, then reveal how his poem transformed into an anthem.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel on air.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.