Star-Spangled Banner Anniversary Today, March 3, for Designation as National Anthem for the United States

On March 3, 1931, the “Star-Spangled Banner” was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was previously recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Before 1931, other songs served as the official hymns at American functions — including “America the Beautiful”, “Hail, Columbia”, and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”.

“Hail, Columbia” served at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, whose melody is identical to “God Save the Queen” — the British national anthem — also served as the official anthem. Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs rose to the occasion at public events, primarily “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”.