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National Anthem Opening Day

The words were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, who had been inspired by the sight of the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of heavy British bombardment. The text was immediately set to a popular melody of the time, "To Anacreon in Heaven."

Baseball and the National Anthem

In 1918, during the heart of America ’s involvement in World War One, the Americans were assigned the right flank of a large Allied army commanded by the French. The bugle sounded and the Americans along with their French and English allies rose and marched forward towards the German trenches. The Germans opened fire with their machine guns and the Americans were cut to pieces.

American General “Blackjack” Pershing refused to allow his army to be controlled by the French and planned his own attack for the next morning. During the night, groups of Americans soldiers, familiar with the way Native Americans fought, snuck slowly out of their entrenchments and crawled towards the German lines. When they got within 100 yards of the Germans, they would lay quietly while others followed their lead. By morning several hundred Americans were in position in front of the German lines, some getting as close as 20 paces.

In the morning when the bugle sounded the charge, the Germans thought they had time but the Americans were on them in a hurry. Soon, the Germans broke, and then ran for their lives. The Americans were victorious.

In the United States during a baseball game played at Ebbets Field, a message was put on the scoreboard announcing the victory. Some fans then stood and began to sing the National Anthem. Slowly, more and more people stood to join in until by the end of the song, everyone in the stadium had stood up and were singing.

From that day till the present, the National Anthem has been sung at every baseball game played in America .


Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thru the night that our flag 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?

The first time the National Anthem was played to the American public was the opening of the 1918 World Series. The Baseball Championship featured the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to two. The Series victory for the Red Sox was their fifth in five tries, going back to 1903.

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Center Stand view of players from the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks standing along the baselines for the National Anthem.

1815 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - First Base Stand view of players from the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks line up along the baselines to sing the National Anthem.

1947 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Dougout view view of players from the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks line up along the baselines to sing the National Anthem.

1832 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - President George W. Bush joins the sold-out crowd at RFK Stadium in the singing of the National Anthem Thursday, April 14, 2005, at the home opener of the Washington Nationals. White House photo by Paul Morse
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1896 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Members of the District National Guard unfurl a huge Flag for the National Anthem.

1921 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Fans get excited as President George W. Bush is announced to throw the first ceremonial pitch.

1857 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Four Airforce fighter planes fly over RFK during the National Anthem.

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