STJ Celebrates 200th Anniversary of National Anthem
Saint James Commemorates the Penning of the National Anthem
The Saint James School student body and faculty gathered in the school quad Monday morning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the penning of the Star Spangled Banner on September 14, 1814. The ceremony was led by Sadie Argo, president of the Saint James high school Student Government Association, and Win Woodson, president of the senior class.
Regent Andrea Harris of the Francis Marion Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented written history of this important song from the DAR to each elementary student along with a certificate of recognition for Saint James to Head of School, Mrs. Melba Richardson.
The colors were presented by Color Guard Commander Tom Smith and members of The General Richard Montgomery Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Mr. Rudy Ohme of The Exchange Club of Montgomery donated an American flag to each of the Saint James elementary students in honor of this celebration.
The high school chorus, under the direction of Lis Donaldson, led the school-wide singing of the national anthem, accompanied by the Saint James Band, directed by Susan Smith. The project was organized by elementary music teacher Kay Newman.
For the past nine years, Saint James has been named a “National Anthem Project All Star School” in recognition of the school’s annual ceremony to honor the national anthem. All elementary students have studied the history and meaning of the song and continue to practice singing it in their music classes.
The Star-Spangled Banner was written by Washington attorney Francis Scott Key at a dramatic moment during the War of 1812. On the night of September 13, 1814, Key watched as the country was attacked by the British navy at Fort McHenry. After watching the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air throughout the night, dawn broke. Key was expecting to find Baltimore firmly under British control, but he was stunned to see a battered but still flying American flag waving in the sunrise. So inspired was Key that he wrote the poem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814. Set to a tune attributed to John Stafford Smith, the song became America’s national anthem in 1931.