Monday, September 13, 2010

This Week in History: 9/13/2010

Francis Scott Key Writes The Star-Spangled Banner

On September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem titled, “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” inspired by the U.S. flag still standing after the British unsuccessfully bombarded this Maryland fort during the War of 1812. The poem was later renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and became the American national anthem in 1931.

Key was born on August 1, 1779 in Maryland and was a successful lawyer and U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. When the U.S. declared war on the British on June 1812 due to trade disagreements, British troops had taken a friend of Key’s prisoner and Key went to rescue his friend in Baltimore. Key and his friend had to wait until the British bombarded Fort McHenry in order to leave the area. Key watched the bombing from a ship about 8 miles away from the fort, and was glad that the British were unable to destroy the fort.

To learn more about the U.S. national anthem, please visit This Day in History at

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