Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) Portrait by Joseph Wood Circa 1825
An American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Georgetown and Washington D.C., Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by British Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant as guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key, there to negotiate release of American prisoners, would learn the strength and position of British units and their plan to attack. Prevented from returning to their own sloop, Key was forced to watch bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the nights of September 13–14,1814.
At dawn, able to see an American flag still waving, Key informed the prisoners below deck. Inspired, he would compose a poem of his experience, “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which was quickly published on September21,1814. Adapted to music, it became known as the “The Star Spangled Banner.” More than a century later, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in1916 and later by Congressional resolution in1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Plaque commemorating the death of Francis Scott Key by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in Baltimore, Maryland
Bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British September 13, 1814
“A VIEW of the BOMBARDMENT of Fort McHenry near Baltimore by the British fleet, taken from the Observatory under Command of British Admirals Cochrane & Cockburn on the morning of the 13th of September. Lasting 24 hours, 1500 to 1800 shells were thrown in the Night while the British, attempting to land by forcing passage up the ferry branch, were repulsed with great loss.”
The flag that flew over Fort McHenry during its bombardment in 1814 would remain in possession of the family of Major Armistead, Commander of the fort, until its donation to the Smithsonian in 1912.
Flag flown over Fort McHenry during Bombardment by the British on September 13-14, 1814
Replica of the Fort McHenry flag, flown in the British Bombardment of 1814, remains flying over the fort
In a beautiful rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” over 1,000 high-school choir students sing the U.S. national anthem during their annual Kentucky conference. Filmed in 2015, they gather on balconies in the lobby of their high-rise hotel as an appreciative audience listens enthralled. The students repeat their touching performance every year.
God Bless America
4th of July fireworks Washington D.C.
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave
Statue of Liberty Liberty Island New York City, New York
Thank you, Karen for posting what ALL American children should learn–the history of our anthem and be Proud to sing! And BTW ~ GOD BLESS AMERICA! ~ JGT (aka D. F. Howard)
Thank you, Dorian. GOD BLESS AMERICA, indeed!
Fantastic, Karen. Hope you’re enjoying the 240th USA Birthday!!
Thank you, GP. Something to certainly celebrate…a grand old country!