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The American national anthem will ring out over the city of Gloucester in England tomorrow as part of the city's celebrations of July 4th. The city's cathedral bells will chime to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner at 11am, 11:45am and at 2pm to mark Independence Day, in a tribute which reflects on the city's own unique connections to the United States.
The US National Anthem was set to the tune 'To Anacreon in Heaven', originally composed by Gloucester-born John Stafford Smith. When the music was combined with the words of Francis Scott Key's poem Defence of Fort McHenry, 'The Star Spangled Banner' that we know today was born. It was designated as the US National Anthem by Congress in 1931.
The unique sound of the bells chiming to the US National Anthem tomorrow won't stay unique for too long though, as during 2020, the bells will play 'The Star Spangled Banner' regularly as part of Gloucester's contribution to the Mayflower 400 anniversary celebrations. The city has developed a number of tours and events that will take place across the year to explore Gloucester's American links, and the iconic US tune will provide a regular soundtrack to the city's visitors next year.
Reflecting on the city's Special Relationship with America, The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said: "Gloucester Cathedral has a unique connection with the United States. We are proud that John Stafford Smith, the son of one of our former Organists wrote the music that became America’s famous National Anthem, 'The Star Spangled Banner'. To this day an American flag hangs inside the building over the monument commemorating this historic bond."
Councillor Steve Morgan, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Gloucester City Council, also said that "The people of Gloucester are justifiably proud of our long, rich and varied history and especially our connections to the United States. Such elements of history help to bring us together and strengthen our special relationship."
Keep up to date with more American events in Gloucester by checking out www.visitgloucester.co.uk