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Anthem

Airs Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: "By Dawn's Early Light" (1912) by painter Edward Percy Moran. It depicts Francis Scott Key standing on boat, with right arm stretched out toward the United States flag flying over Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland. "Anthem" tells the story behind Francis Scott Key's creation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and explores the role of music and patriotism during The War of 1812.

Courtesy of American Public Television

"In Action," an oil painting by Michel Felice Corne (1752-1845), depicting the USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere firing on each other, as Guerriere's mizzen mast goes over the side.

"Anthem" tells the story behind Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner," the song famously penned after the relentless bombardment by the British of Fort McHenry during The War of 1812.

Historians and music experts discuss the Colonial-era songs and events that influenced Key to write what would become the U.S. national anthem.

"Anthem" also reveals interesting facts about Key's upbringing and religious leanings while tracing the origins of the song.

During the program, the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club and St. John's College Chorus give voice to this stirring and elegant song, including a performance of its first draft.

Video

Preview: Anthem