Clay and I were talking about how the national anthem is played before sporting events in this country and in the case of hockey both the American and Canadian anthems are played.  But how did the tradition begin?

An act of Congress in 1931 made “The Star Spangled Banner” the national anthem, but 15 years before that President Woodrow Wilson ordered that it be played at all military ceremonies and other appropriate occasions.

Its connection with sporting events was almost by accident.  During the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and the Red Sox while the United States was fighting World War One the band began playing “The Star Spangled Banner” during the 7th inning stretch.  The players from both teams turned to the flag pole in centerfield and stood at attention.  The fans began to sing along and at the end of the song there was a big roar of approval. 

When the series shifted to Boston for the next two games, instead of during the 7th inning stretch, they decided to have a band play “The Star Spangled Banner” at the beginning of the games. 

It wasn’t until World War Two that the anthem was played at the beginning of all baseball games.  Before that it was only played on opening day and during the World Series.

From baseball the tradition spread to other sports.

My favorite rendition of the anthem was by Whitney Houston at Super Bowl 25 in Tampa.  Think back to the emotion of the moment.  The United States was entered into its first conflict with Iraq with the launch of Operation Desert Storm, tensions were high, security was tight and for Buffalo Bills fans -their team was in the Super Bowl for the first time

SOURCE: Mental Floss Magazine