Survey: Americans Forget National Anthem

ByABC News via logo
May 20, 2004, 9:06 PM

May 20, 2004 -- If you don't remember the lines that come after the words "whose broad stripes and bright stars," you're not alone.

A Harris Interactive survey of 2,200 adults has found that nearly two out of three Americans, or 61 percent, do not know all the words to the "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem.

Of those who claim to know all the words, only 39 percent know what follows the line "whose broad stripes and bright stars," the survey found.

The lyric problem is often evident at sporting events.

The most recent and heartwarming example came when 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert forgot the words at an NBA playoff game, getting stuck at the line "What so proudly we hailed " until Trailblazers' Coach Maurice Cheeks and 20,000 in the stands came to her rescue.

First lady Laura Bush has now become honorary chairwoman of The National Anthem Project, a three-year education campaign to re-teach America to sing the national anthem, with major singing celebrations throughout the country.

It is sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, which feels budget cuts in school music programs are at the heart of all this, since statistics show three out of four Americans say school is where they learned the anthem and other patriotic songs.

If you want to find out more about the project, visit