Inspiration from the Star Spangled Banner

Reposted from June, 2012

"The Defence of Fort McHenry", poem by Francis Scott Key, published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814.

The actual banner that flew over Fort McHenry

Can your spirits be raised to write a better resume by thinking about the morning that Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defence of Ft. McHenry” that became the National Anthem? (Mr. Key’s accomplishment would make a great KSA for Ability to Write!)

Read his “Star Spangled” KSA »

On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was on a ship eight miles down the Patapsco River (near the Key Bridge today). He had been sitting out there watching the bombardment of the British on Ft. McHenry all day and through the night. By early morning, he looked out and the huge flag was still waving in the breeze after twenty-five hours of heavy bombardment by the British. Key, who sometimes wrote religious poetry, was inspired to pen the poem (in the graphic above) that became the National Anthem in 1931.

http://www.fortmchenryguard.org/images/fort_fade.jpg

The Commander of Ft. McHenry, Colonel Armistead knew how important Ft. McHenry was to our nation in 1812. The British had just burned Washington (including the White House and the Capitol Building) and were advancing toward Baltimore. The Commander felt that the Baltimoreans were discouraged and afraid for their city. He felt that they would have their spirits raised by seeing a huge, high flying flag at Fort McHenry as a symbol of defiance.

Colonel Armistead commissioned Mary Youngs Pickersgill, a local seamstress and flag maker to make two flags for Fort McHenry in 1813 – a large flag and a smaller one to fly in bad weather. She was paid $500 for both flags, the large one being 30 x 42 feet, so it could be seen from a great distance. She was asked to sew a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, the number of states then in the Union. (My grandmother was a seamstress and flag maker with a famous flag maker in Baltimore City from 1910 until 1940. I wonder if this is the same flagmaker?)

The 15-star, 15-stripe flag was authorized by the Flag Act of January 13, 1794, adding 2 stripes and 2 Stars. The regulation went into effect on May 1, 1795. This flag was the only U.S. Flag to have more than 13 stripes. It was immortalized by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Sept 13, 1814. The image above is representative of the actual flag that flew over Fort McHenry on that day and which is now preserved in the Smithsonian Museum. You can notice the “tilt” in some of the stars just as in the original Star Spangled Banner.

Personally, I am inspired by Francis Scott Key’s experience, the flag, Ft. McHenry, our country’s survival, and the amazing poem that Mr. Key wrote, especially the phrase “o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

More Information about the Star Spangled Banner

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