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The Story of the National Anthem

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The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key and is the national anthem of the United States of America.

The story behind the Star Spangled Banner is as moving as the anthem itself. While an attorney, Key was serving in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery during the War of 1812. In 1814 his negotiation skills as a lawyer were called upon to release Dr. William Beane who was a prisoner on the British naval ship, Tonnant. Early in September Key traveled to Baltimore in the company of Colonel John Skinner to begin negotiations.

Key and Skinner secured Beane’s release but since the British navy had begun attacking Baltimore, the trio had to wait at sea to return to Georgetown.

Fort McHenry is built on a peninsula of the Patapsco River and the city of Baltimore is just across the Northwest Branch. In 1814, the population of Baltimore was roughly 50,000 people, hardly the metropolis it is today. The country itself was still young and often families of soldiers lived nearby and provided support to their soldiers.

The British navy abandoned Baltimore and turned their full attention on Fort McHenry on September 13. As the 190 pound shells began to shake the fort, mother nature brought a storm of her own. Thunder and rain pelted the shore along with the bombs and shells. Throughout the night, parents, wives and children in their homes could hear and feel the bomb blasts across the way. There were reports of the explosions being felt as far away as Philadelphia. It was a long night of fear, worry and providing comfort to one another.

At sea, Key had a similar night. Being a religious man, one who believed the war could have been avoided, he watched the bombs bursting in air over the water and steadily pummeling Fort McHenry. It was surely a sight to behold.

For 25 hours the star shaped fort manned by approximately 1,000 American soldiers endured over 1,500 cannon shots. The fort answered with their own with almost no effect.

Envi Heater and Key

In the early morning of September 14th, after Major George Armistead’s armed troops stopped the British landing party in a blaze of gun fire, he ordered the oversized American flag which had been made a few months before by Mary Perckersgill and her daughter, raised in all its glory over Fort McHenry, replacing the storm flag which had been raised during battle.

As Key awaited at sea for dawn to break and smoke to clear, imagine the inspiring sight in the silence of the morning to see his country’s flag fully unfurled against the breaking of the day and the fort standing strong.

Key was so moved by the experience he immediately began penning the lyrics to a song which were later published by his brother-in-law as a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry”.

Nearly 117 years passed after Key penned “Defence of Fort M’Henry” before it became the national anthem of the United States of America. “Hail Columbia” and “My Country and ‘Tis of Thee” held honorary places as patriotic songs, but the United States didn’t have an officially declared anthem until a congressional resolution, signed by President Herbert Hoover, when “The Star Spangled Banner” officially became the national anthem of the United States of America on March 3rd, 1931.

Few songs ever written have had the same impact that the National Anthem. When Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl XXV in 1991 during the Persian Golf War it brought America to tears. There is a sense of pride when the nation anthem is played at sporting events across America. Being American has many different variations to it, but we all stand united when we sing

“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?”

Envi Heater and American Flag

We are proud to be a USA company and produce product like the Envi Heater that is USA made. We want to encourage you to proud of America with us. God Bless You and God Bless the USA

*Historical note: The spelling of “defence” in the original title of Key’s song is correct for the period.

** The Historical story was orgininal written on this page:

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