Bostwick Building National Anthem Plaque Tacoma, WA

Bostwick Building National Anthem Plaque

According to historians and a bronze plaque, the tradition of standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner” began in downtown Tacoma 124 years ago, but only a few people are aware of it. During a meeting of war veterans in Tacoma on October 18, 1893, General Rossell G. O’Brien, a Civil War veteran and the “father” of the Washington National Guard, suggested standing for the anthem. Although O’Brien’s official motion is acknowledged, historian Duane Colt Denfeld’s essay on suggests that several others had suggested it earlier. For example, in 1891, Michigan Sen. Julius Burrows spoke at West Point, stating that he would like to see every true American rise to their feet in recognition of the anthem. Despite the debate about its origins, standing for the national anthem has become a simple act of patriotism. However, the relationship between the country and its national anthem has been complicated long before body position became a measure of patriotism. The 1889 Bostwick Building, where the event occurred, still stands at 755 St. Helens Ave, and now houses a Tully’s coffee, tattoo shop, and apartments.

Visit another Tacoma, WA Landmark: Tacoma Art Museum