Jun 12, 2022

The Truth Behind the Controversial Third Verse of “The Star Spangled Banner”

You’ve heard it countless times in your life.

The Star Spangled Banner is played before sporting events in the U.S. and I remember when we used to have to stand and say the pledge of allegiance in the morning before school.

Our national anthem was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key as a poem after he witnessed a U.S. flag flying him above Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812.

Screen Shot 2022 06 08 at 1.11.41 PM The Truth Behind the Controversial Third Verse of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

The song is part of our national fabric, but a lot of people don’t know that Key wrote a third verse that many people today find offensive.

The third verse said, “Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

According to the Library of Congress, Key could have been talking about how the British recruited escaped slaves to fight about the Americans in the War of 1812 and Key could have seen them as enemies just like British soldiers.

It should be noted that later in life, Key became a lawyer and helped slaves fight for their freedom.

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