The “Star-Spangled Banner,” the martial, difficult-to-sing yet inspiring piece of music that the United States claims as its national anthem, has been around for nearly two centuries now.

Some like it, same don’t. It’s played at sporting events, concerts, marches, dances and rodeos.

In other words, it’s everywhere.

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Kids and recording artists sing it. Orchestras play it. Even rock musicians perform it.

The one thread that ties it all together is the patriotism it inspires.

Listen here to a variety of performances and pick your favorite.

Here is a disabled girl at a local sports event:

Madison Rising:

Here are the combined choirs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, accompanied by the Army Herald Trumpets:

Carrie Underwood:

John Philip Sousa, with several other artists from the late 1800s and early 1900s:

The Cactus Cuties:

Josh Turner:

Here is the New York Philharmonic:

The Gaither Vocal Band:

Jimi Hendrix:

And here is the history of the song by historian David Barton:

Here is documentary about the times and the song:

The lyrics:

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 through 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?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

It has been performed by a wide range of groups and in a variety of styles, although most performances do not include the latter verses, including the fourth stanza’s description of America as a “heav’n rescued land” with “In God is our Trust” for a motto.

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