Into the growing list of TV programs introduced by President Obama goes tomorrow’s Smithsonian Channel one-hour special A Star-Spangled Story: Battle For America. In a video message, Obama will invite viewers to reflect on the National Anthem on its 200th anniversary, and its impact on American history and viewers’ lives. While it was not officially declared the national anthem until March 3, 1931, the lyrics were first written, as the poem “Defence Of Fort M’Henry”, in 1814 — hence the timing of the docu — by Francis Scott Key, after he’d watched the attack on Fort McHenry by British ships during the War of 1812. The lyrics were put to a popular British tune of the day, resulting in an anthem with a range of one and a half octaves that’s been successfully sung by few over the years at nearly every major U.S. televised sporting event.
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