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Smith Celebrates Birthday of National Anthem(September, 2008)

Smith students sing Smith National Anthem CelebrationThe cafeteria at Smith Elementary was a sea of red, white and blue Friday, September 12, as the campus joined elementary schools across the nation Friday at 9 a.m. local time to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The event was in celebration of the famous patriotic song’s birthday.

“It was written on the morning of September 14th but since that is Sunday, this year schools are celebrating on Friday,” Ashley Leffel, the music teacher at Smith explained.

Leffel is new to Frisco ISD. She had used the National Anthem Day as part of her curriculum while in Plano ISD. “It just kept getting bigger and bigger,” she said, adding that she wanted to use it at Smith.

In addition to gathering to sing the song as a student body, Smith students of all ages have learned the history of the song in music class, read a book about the song and studied the lyrics. Leffel said the program is supported by the MENC, the national association of music education.

Smith had different grades assigned to wear different patriotic colors. The fourth grade, which wore blue, had 100 percent participation. Students from the fifth grade took turns reading facts about the famous poem at the assembly and how it became the national anthem.

The poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally called “The Defense of Fort McHenry” and was authored by Francis Scott Key on the morning after the battle in 1814. A very large flag had been sewn in anticipation of battle. When Key saw the damaged but huge flag still flying, he was inspired to write the poem. Eventually, the poem was put to a well-known tune of the day. It was officially made the national anthem in 1931.

Persons interested in learning more about this national program online may go to nationalanthemproject.org for more information.