March 3, 1931: “The Star Spangled Banner” finally becomes the Official National Anthem for the United States.

In 1929, Robert Ripley — of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” fame — published a syndicated cartoon stating that “Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem.”ripley

Americans were shocked and Ripley received an angry backlash. He told letter-writers that their efforts would be better spent writing their congressmen. Five million letters soon arrived in Washington demanding that Congress proclaim a national anthem.

The “Star-Spangled Banner” had been used widely, particularly by the Navy during flag-raising ceremonies, but other songs including “Hail Columbia” and “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” were also used at official occasions. “The Star Spangled Banner” had become one of the most popular patriotic songs of the United States by the time of the Civil War and by the late 19th century had become the official song of the U.S. military, but it was never declared the official national anthem of the country.

star-spangled-bannerAfter Ripley’s cartoon spurred the American people to demand “The Star Spangled Banner” to become the official national anthem there was some debate in Congress on whether a song with somewhat violent subject matter should be the official anthem., but John Phillip Sousa testified in its favor saying the “spirit of the music inspires”.

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a law making the “Star-Spangled Banner” the undisputed anthem.

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