How much do you know about these patriotic American songs?

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By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Every country has a short list of patriotic songs that citizens know by heart. We all know (and mangle) the national anthem. But how much do you really know about America's catalog of patriotic songs?

What is the name of the United States national anthem?

In 1931, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was officially named America's national anthem. Since then, it has been sung (often poorly) at countless public events.

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The British sometimes used this song to mock colonists in the days before the American Revolution. Which song was it?

Before the Revolution, the British rolled their eyes at colonial soldiers and mocked them with "Yankee Doodle." Once the "Yankees" sharpened their bayonets and ignited the Revolution, the British didn't think the song was funny anymore.

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"God bless America, land that I _____"

In 1918, as World War I raged in Europe, Irving Berlin wrote a song called "God Bless America." The first line of the chorus is,"God bless America, land that I love."

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Which famous patriotic song begins with the line, "O beautiful, for spacious skies"?

" America the Beautiful" begins with the timeless line, "O beautiful, for spacious skies." But in the poem that inspired the song, the original line was actually, "O beautiful for halcyon skies."

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Which song was inspired by American soldiers withstanding a British attack on Fort McHenry in 1814?

During the War of 1812, the British bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, and lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote a poem about the fort's successful defense. His poem later became "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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True or false, can Americans still see the flag that's referred to in "The Star-Spangled Banner"?

You bet, you can still see the battered but glorious flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner." It's on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

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What's the complete song title? "The Stars and Stripes _____."

It's one of the most famous marches in American history. Written by John Philip Sousa, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is one of the most patriotic U.S. songs ever.

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Which patriotic song is always played for the ceremonial entrance of the Vice-President of the United States?

When the VP hits the stage, it's "Hail, Columbia" that's blaring from the loudspeakers. The song was one of several de facto national anthems in America's history.

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Proponents of _______ have launched numerous efforts to have this tune replace the hard-to-sing national anthem.

In the past century, numerous groups have attempted to have "America the Beautiful" replace (or match) "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the country's anthem, for varied reasons. One big reason: it's way, way easier to sing.

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Complete the name of this popular war song. "When Johnny _______."

"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is a hopeful tune from the Civil War era, yearning for the day when long-lost soldiers finally returned to their homes and families.

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"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written during which great American conflict?

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written in 1861, as the Civil War sparked conflict around the country. It's also sometimes called "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," particularly in other countries.

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Which patriotic song is the official Presidential Anthem of the United States?

When the president arrives at public events, his handlers make sure someone is playing "Hail to the Chief," the official presidential anthem. At especially special events, they bring in the U.S. Marine Band to play the ditty.

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Complete this patriotic song title. "Ballad of the Green ______"

In 1966, during the awfulness of the Vietnam War, the "Ballad of the Green Berets" celebrated the bravery and sacrifice of America's elite troops. It was written by a man named Barry Sadler, who was training to become a medic in the special forces.

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Which gospel song also became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement?

"We Shall Overcome" is as patriotic as an American song can be. It's a song about struggling against oppression and finding hope in the darkest of days. It was particularly popular during the civil rights era.

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Which patriotic American song has the exact same melody of Britain's national anthem, "God Save the Queen"?

Samuel Francis Smith may have written the lyrics to "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," but he's not getting any bonus points for the melody. He simply used the melody from "God Save the Queen."

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Which famous patriotic song contains the line: "We salute him, one and all"?

"Hail to the Chief" waxes poetic about the nation's elected commander in chief. "Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation, Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all."

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Which song was one of the first to be celebrated by the 13 colonies before the Revolutionary War?

Founding father John Dickinson wrote "The Liberty Song" as a celebration of the colonies … and as a way to refute British control of their lives.

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Which patriotic song has the chorus, "Glory, Glory, hallelujah"?

You can see why "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was so popular during the Civil War, when the country's life was at stake. The rousing "glory, glory, hallelujah" chorus undoubtedly caused many patriotic folks to shed a tear or two.

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Which song was the de facto national anthem before "The Star-Spangled Banner" was offically named the country's true anthem?

There were several songs that were de facto national anthems before Congress finally made "The Star-Spangled Banner" official in 1931. "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was one of them. I guess no one cared that it used the same melody as "God Save the Queen" or perhaps Americans enjoyed the irony.

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Which country music star recorded a patriotic staple named "God Bless the USA"?

Speaking of de facto national anthems, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" (from 1984) might as well be the country's official tune. It's blasted at nearly every patriotic event, from baseball games to political rallies.

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This song was created in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. "Praise the Lord and Pass the ______."

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a story about American courage made the rounds. One soldier supposedly said, "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition," and it became the title of a popular song.

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Which patriotic pop song hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts?

In 1969, Johnny Horton popularized "The Battle of New Orleans," which recounts a solider's experience during the fight. It was a huge song about the War of 1812 that became a No. 1 hit.

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Which song is sometimes called the "unofficial anthem" of the America West?

You know the words, sing it with me! "Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play." It's also the state song of Kansas.

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Complete the lyrics to this patriotic song. "You're a grand old flag, you're a _________."

"You're a grand old flag, you're a high-flying flag, and forever in peace may you wave." "You're a Grand Old Flag" was written in 1906 for a musical called "George Washington, Jr."

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Which patriotic song is always played at military funerals?

"Taps" is one of the most solemn songs in the catalog of American tunes. The few bugle notes are always played to mark the passing of veterans.

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Which of the following is a real song?

The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the Marine Corps. It was officially adopted in 1929. It begins, "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…"

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Folk singer Woody Guthrie created which famous patriotic song, which is actually not all that patriotic?

Guthrie got sick of hearing the popular song "God Bless America" and it's sappy sentiments. He wrote "This Land is Your Land" as a testament that not everything was perfect in America.

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During the Civil War, which song became the de facto national anthem of the Confederacy?

During the Civil War, "Dixie" was the de facto national anthem of the Confederacy. It's a wistful song about the greatness of the South. "Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land."

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Lee Greenwood's career was made by his song, "God Bless the USA." It was so popular that he created a new version of the song for which country?

Greenwood's iconic "God Bless the USA" was so popular that he created a (nearly identical) version called "God Bless You Canada." No, we're not kidding … it's on YouTube.

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True or false, does the original version of the song "The Stars and Stripes Forever" have lyrics?

When John Philip Sousa wrote the march "The Stars and Stripes Forever," he did create lyrics, too. But most people know only the melody, not the words.

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