Kids explain the National Anthem

"Who did we declare our independence from?" the interviewer asks a young girl. "Canada," she replies.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Jul 4, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 12:05 pm CDT

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is a staple on July 4 and during major sporting events. But we really know what it means when we sing the lyrics? 

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The National Anthem, originally a poem, wasn’t part of the American Revolution. It was written by Francis Scott Key while he was detained aboard a British ship during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. Moved by what he saw, he wrote the poem down on the back of a letter. Music was added a few years later, but the song didn’t officially become the national anthem until 1931.

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Jimmy Kimmel reflected on the tune during his show on Wednesday. He didn’t understand what the song meant as a kid, and years later, he admitted that he probably still didn’t quite get it.

And because kids say the darndest things, he sent a camera crew out to Hollywood Boulevard to ask a bunch of kids about the song’s lyrics and how they interpreted them.

Not many of them remembered all the lyrics—although some tried—and some were a little rusty on their history.

“Who did we declare our independence from?” the interviewer asks a young girl.

“Canada,” she replies.

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Kimmel’s audience has a mix of laughs and awwws as the kids explain a song they know nothing about. One girl even called herself “dumb” for not knowing the lyrics.

There’s plenty of time to learn.

Photo via JimmyKimmelLive/YouTube

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*First Published: Jul 4, 2013, 12:54 pm CDT