This article was originally published on July 4, 2009. Click here for more from Patrol‘s 2009 summer issue.

MOST OF us probably think of our national anthem a couple of times a year: on Independence Day and Super Bowl Sunday (the jury is still out on which is the more significant American holiday). And if we think back, we can usually pick out a couple of moments where we heard a rendition of Francis Scott Key’s famous song—widely regarded as one of the most difficult songs in history to perform—that moved us to ponder the incredible experiment we’re a part of, and maybe even choke up a little. (We’ll excuse our international readers, and we know there are lots of you, for tuning out our momentary sentimentality.)

So we took a number of suggestions, dredged the internet for the greatest moments in the history of national anthem performance. Our selections are hardly the “best ever,” as many incredible moments no doubt occurred long before they could be caught on tape and shared around the globe. But these ten videos represent a cross-section of Star-Spangled Banners from the past 50 years, from performers of various ages, races, and genres. Some, as you’ll see, came at crucial moments of national grief. All are shining moments of patriotism at its brightest.

10. Scots Guard Band
Buckingham Palace, London
September 11, 2001

9. Cactus Cuties
United Spirit Arena, Lubbock, Texas
March 8, 2008

8. ‘N Sync
Closing Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, Salt Lake City, Utah
February 24, 2002

7. Jennifer Hudson
Democratic National Convention, Invesco Field, Denver, Colorado
August 28, 2008

6. Combined U.S. Academy Choirs and U.S. Army Herald Trumpets
Super Bowl XXXIX, Alltell Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
February 6, 2005



5. Sandi Patty
Concert performance

4. Marvin Gaye
NBA All-Star Game, The Forum, Inglewood, California
February 13, 1983

3. Beyoncé
Super Bowl XXXVII, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
February 1, 2004

2. Jimi Hendrix
Woodstock Music & Art Fair, Woodstock, New York
August 18, 1969

1. Whitney Houston
Super Bowl XXV, Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
January 27, 1991

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