Today, March 3rd 1931, is the day our country got it’s National Anthem… The Star Spangled Banner. It was installed through the efforts of President Herbert Hoover, maybe the main thing his administration is remembered for.
The lyrics to the Anthem were written by Francis Scott Key, basically a lawyer who had gone to get the release of his friend, Dr. William Beanes, who was being held on a British warship and believed to be a spy. He, Scott, and a negotiator, secured the release of the doctor but since the British were getting ready to attack Ft. McHenry protecting Baltimore, the British kept them on board the ship so they could not give warning to the Americans ashore (not that it really matterd since the Americans could easily see the ships from the shore).
That night the British began a bombardment of the Fort which Key was able to watch from the deck of the ship. He got the idea for the lyrics, thinking the Fort was about to fall from the heavy shelling. It was September 14th, 1814. To his surprise, when the morning came, the American flag still stood over the fort. The British changed tactics and attacked by land but the Americans still held out. The battle ended with an American victory, one of the few in the War of 1812.
Key’s poem was set to music written by Brit John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreaon In Heaven” and became our National Anthem. Key and the negotiator were released the next day.
How to celebrate – Sing the National Anthem today. Visit Ft. McHenry. Be proud to be an American.