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Wakarusa Elementary School Hosts 7th Annual National Anthem Day

by Amy Wenger on September 3, 2014

     As the sky and sea roiled around him, with the cataclysmic sounds of warfare echoing in his ears, Francis Scott Key was not rankled by what he was experiencing.  For as the battles raged on, Key didn't hear the pounding arsenal of artillery, didn't hear the ringing gunfire, didn't hear the thunderous explosions.

     He heard music.

     Two hundred years later, the song that began as a figment in Key's mind has evolved into America's reverently melodious banner for patriotism, and the staff and students of Wakarusa Elementary are ready to celebrate this special milestone.  For the 7th consecutive year, the school is hosting "National Anthem Day," which is set to take place on Friday, September 15 in the school's gymnasium.  The celebration will begin at approximately 8:20 a.m., and members of the community are invited to attend.  An invitation is also extended to members of the military and their families, as this observance will additionally serve to commemorate Patriot Day on September 11, as well as Constitution Day on September 17.

     The entire student body, comprised of more than 500 youngsters, will be presenting "The Star Spangled Banner" centerpiece of the occasion, along with select students offering recitations.  Many other Americana themed songs will be sung as well.

     "The Star Spangled Banner" was penned and composed by Key on September 14, 1814, as he witnessed fiery conflicts during the War of 1812.  While awaiting word on what had become of his besieged and beloved hometown of Baltimore, Key scrawled those first fateful lyrics on the back of an envelope.

     According to vocal music teacher Shawn Skaggs, the idea for National Anthem Day was inspired by a national poll in which it was revealed that only 40 percent of Americans actually know the words to the song.  Perhaps fewer understand the significance of the tune, or why it has become such an integral part of American events.

     "We study the history of 'The Star Spangled Banner,' the poetic language of the lyrics, the correct note values and melody, and the proper behaviors to demonstrate whether it's sung or played," Skaggs said.  "This day has really become a chance for our students to reflect on what they're truly thankful for in their everyday lives, and what freedom means."

     For additional questions about "National Anthem Day" festivities, contact Wakarusa Elementary School at (574) 862-2000, or get in touch with Skaggs directly at


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