Saturday, September 13, 2014

200th Anniversary

The_Star-Spangled_Banner graphic

Did you know that September 13, 2014 marks the 200th years since The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key? 

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." The poem, originally titled "The Defence of Fort McHenry," was written after Key witnessed theMaryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the "Star-Spangled Banner": "And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there."

On June 18, 1812, America declared war on Great Britain after a series of trade disagreements. In August 1814, British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the White House, Capitol Building and Library of Congress. Their next target was Baltimore.
After one of Key's friends, Dr. William Beanes, was taken prisoner by the British, Key went to Baltimore, located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. However, Key and Beanes weren't allowed to leave until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about eight miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed.
The poem was printed in newspapers and eventually set to the music of a popular English drinking tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven" by composer John Stafford Smith. People began referring to the song as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and in 1916 PresidentWoodrow Wilson announced that it should be played at all official events. It was adopted as the national anthem on March 3, 1931.


Barbara said...

Last year the Maryland Historical Society ran a project to recreate the Star Spangled Banner Flag to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the making of the flag. The reproduction flag was flown over Fort McHenry on Defender's day.

Tomorrow morning, 200 years after the raising of the original flag after the naval portion of the Battle of Baltimore, our reproduction flag will be flown over Fort McHenry.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing the story behind ... so interesting!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Thank you for sharing an interesting piece of our history. I always love to learn new things! Long may she wave. blessings ~ tanna

Lady of the Cloth said...

I didn't know some of these facts and sure wasn't taught them in school. I have been asking teens in the neighborhood and none of them know this story. Thanks for sharing.