U.S. National Anthem Recognized 80 Years Ago on March 3 – Thanks to Robert Ripley!
ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2011) – The Star Spangled Banner’s lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key and the song has been sung by millions of Americans. But it was none other than Robert Ripley who started an effort to recognize the song as America’s national anthem.
Ripley’s 1929 Believe It or Not! cartoon pointed out that the U.S. had no national anthem
March 3 marks the 80th anniversary of Congress recognizing the “The Star Spangled Banner” as America’s national anthem. Before then, it was one of many patriotic American songs – and one sung to the tune of a popular British drinking song (“To Anacreon in Heaven”).
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On November 3, 1929, in his first-ever syndicated Sunday Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon, Ripley wrote “America Has No National Anthem!” and pointed out that Congress had refused to recognize “The Star Spangled Banner.”
When an angry public turned to Ripley for answers, he said “Don’t write to me, write to your Congressmen” – and they did. Five million petitions were sent to Congress, with most people demanding answers and action. Even John Phillips Sousa published an opinion in favor of the idea.
Congress got the message and passed Public-No 823-71st Congress (H.R. 14), and on March 3, 1931, it was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
“It is without a doubt the single-most important cartoon that Ripley ever drew and published,” said Edward Meyer, Ripley’s VP of Exhibits and Archives. “It changed American history forever!”
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About Ripley Entertainment
Ripley Entertainment Inc. (www.ripleys.com), keepers of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand, is a global leader in location-based entertainment, entertaining more than 12 million annually at its 80-plus attractions in 11 countries. In addition to its 32 Believe It or Not! Odditoriums, the Orlando, Florida-based company has publishing, licensing and broadcast divisions, best-selling books and the popular syndicated cartoon strip, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, that still runs daily in 42 countries. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.