Star Spangled Banner: The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem by Lonn TaylorThe very flag that Francis Scott Key saw still flying over Fort McHenry in 1814, inspiring him to write the poem that became the national anthem of the United States, is on display at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. In this splendid history, Lonn Taylor recounts the story of the Star-Spangled Banner and describes the restoration project now underway to ensure the continued preservation of this honored symbol of American patriotism.With the restoration project continuing to enjoy media attention as a featured part of Hillary Rodham Clintons campaign to save Americas treasures, this celebration of the beloved flag -- and the feelings of pride it stirs in the hearts of Americans -- will be a valued souvenir and memento of our national heritage.
The Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
On a rainy September 13, , British warships sent a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American fort for 25 hours. The bombardment, known as the Battle of Baltimore, came only weeks after the British had attacked Washington, D. It was another chapter in the ongoing War of A week earlier, Francis Scott Key, a year-old American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to release a friend who had recently been arrested. Key's tactics were successful, but because he and his companions had gained knowledge of the impending attack on Baltimore, the British did not let them go. They allowed the Americans to return to their own vessel but continued guarding them. Under their scrutiny, Key watched on September 13 as the barrage of Fort McHenry began eight miles away.