This weekend has seen various celebrations of this 200th anniversary of our national anthem.
On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, after a 25-hour battle, raised a huge 42-foot American flag, sewn by Mary Pickersgill, to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Key was aboard a ship in the harbor when he became thus inspired. Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories.
Here is a video by Dudley Rutherford in which he tells the story behind the Star Spangled Banner: