Happy Fourth of July!! Meet Francis Scott Key, a young lawyer from Maryland. In 1814 towards the end of the War of 1812, Key who was a lawyer and an amateur poet was negotiating a prisoner exchange with the British. He was aboard the HMS Tonnant on the night of September 13 and 14 when the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
Through the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air, Key was able to see that the American flag at Fort McHenry was still waving and reported it to the American prisoners below deck. The experience inspired Key to write and publish the poem “The Defence of Fort McHenry”, which was published on September 20, 1814. It was placed to music and has become known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The first and last of the four stanzas are provided below. The fourth stanza (seldom read and never sung) epitomizes the concepts of American exceptionality, reliance on God and appreciation for God-given liberties which, though profound beliefs of American citizens for more than two centuries, have been questioned by some today.
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
To read more about Key and the Star Spangled Banner: http://francisscottkey.com/
Tomorrow, The First Official Flag Rita Bay
July 4, 2011 · 12:05 am