14 September 2016

History for the day: 13 September 1814: The Star-Spangled Banner

On 13 September 1814, Francis Scott Key penned a poem which was later set to music and, in 1931, became America’s national anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner. The poem, originally titled The Defense of Fort McHenry, was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone American flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
Francis Scott Key was born on 1 August 1779, at Terra Rubra, his family’s estate in Frederick County (now Carroll County), Maryland. He became a successful lawyer in Maryland and Washington, DC, and was later appointed US attorney for the District of Columbia.
On 18 June 1812, America declared war on Great Britain after a series of trade disagreements. In August of 1814, British troops invaded Washington, and burned the White House, the Capitol, and the Library of Congress. Their next target was Baltimore, Maryland.
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 flew 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, To Anacreon in Heaven, by composer John Stafford Smith. People began referring to the song as The Star-Spangled Banner and, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson announced that it should be played at all official events. It was adopted as the national anthem on 3 March 1931.
Francis Scott Key died of pleurisy on 11 January 1843. Today, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 is housed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History in Washington.
Rico says, as for the song, it's still a great anthem, after the Marseillaise:

No comments:


Casino Deposit Bonus