14th September
It was on this day...
1814 Lyrics To "The Star-Spangled Banner" Is Written, To Tune Of Old English Drinking Song

What was to become the USA's national anthem was penned by Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, on this day. He had witnessed first hand the destruction wrought by British troops at Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. Originally the song was called "Defense of Fort McHenry."

The song is actually written to a tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven" written by John Stafford Smith. The tune, when sung with the original lyrics, written by Ralph Tomlinson, or with any other popular lyrics of the day, was a well used sobriety test in English pubs (if a drinker could sing a verse properly and on key he was allowed to carry on drinking!)

The Star-Spangled Banner was formerly confirmed as the USA's national anthem in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order. President Herbert Hoover signed a Congressional act in 1931 confirming this.

Lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner:

 O 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, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Lyrics to Anacreon in Heav'n:

 To Anacreon in Heav'n,
Where he sat in full glee,
A few Sons of Harmony
Sent a petition
That he their Inspirer
And Patron would be;
When this answer arrived
From the Jolly Old Grecian:
"Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
No longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name
And inspire you to boot,
And besides I'll instruct you,
Like me, to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus
With Bacchus's Vine."

Lyrics taken from wikipedia.

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1752 It had been in use in Europe since 1582, but it wasn't until this day that Britain switched it's official calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian version. It meant that the date went (for one time only) from September 2nd to September 14th.

1939 Igor Sikorsky successfully flies the VS-300, the first ever helicopter.

1956 The world's first computer hard disk is shipped. It was a 5MB, RAMAC 305 drive from IBM. It weighed one ton, and was the width of two refrigerators but not quite as tall. Today 5MB is about the size of one MP3 track.

1974 "I Shot the Sheriff" by Eric Clapton tops the charts. It was originally written by Bob Marley.

1982 Princess Grace of Monaco dies from injuries sustained from an automobile crash the previous day.

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