“Star Spangled” KSA


Candidate: Francis Scott Key, Sept. 14, 1814

Position: Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Congress

KSA: Ability to Communicate in Writing


Context:   As an attorney and aide-de-camp to General Smith, stationed near Upper Marlboro, MD, I found out my dear friend and elderly, Dr. Beane, who was captured by the British Army during a party at his home in Upper Marlboro. I was on a British vessel flagged for truce by the future President Jackson, on my way to pick up a captured friend in Marlborough. We got as far as the mouth of the Patuxent and then we were not permitted to return lest an intended attack on Baltimore by the British should be disclosed. We were brought up the Bay just across from Fort McHenry and there we were compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall.

Challenge:   We watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with more than 500 bombs from British ships to Ft. McHenry. In the night the smaller weather flag was flying while we watched the Bomb shells in darkness not knowing that the American Military had secretly planned 4 barges, which the British did not detect. These barges attached the British militia and sent them running, some with tugs assisting. At the early dawn our eyes were surprising greeted by the proudly the 15-star flag of our country (late to be known as the Star Spangled Banner).

Actions:   By morning, I was compelled to pen a poem that reflected my thoughts of the war and particularly of the flag, “Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light … “ was my first thought.

I wrote four verses that reflected topics about the day before and my vision of the flag in the morning. The first verse reviews the dawn’s light and the flag with broad stripes and bright stars that was still flying in the morning; the second verse reviews the dread silence and how the flag was fitfully blowing; the third verse reviews the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion; and the final and fourth verse celebrates the victory and peace that preserved our nation.

Results:   I witnessed the last enemy fire to fall on Fort McHenry and in this memory, I wrote the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry has been renamed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and has become a well-known American patriotic song. The poem and song were recognized for official Navy use in 1931 and became the national them by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 and signed by President Herbert Hoover.


This KSA was written by Kathryn Troutman, Author, Ten Steps to a Federal Job, 2nd Edition.

Written in the CCAR format which results in the Best Scores by Federal Human Resources Specialists. See our free KSA CCAR Builder here.

Read the entire inspiring blog –Star Spangled Banner Inspiration for Writing your KSA Blog by K. Troutman.

Written and Published by Kathryn Troutman, The Resume Place, Inc., It is OKAY to copy this, email this and share this with friends and colleagues. Please give credit to Kathryn Troutman, www.resume-place.com.

Defence of our Nation, Patrick Henry

Defence of our Nation, Patrick Henry

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