Tag Archives: Francis Scott Key

200th Anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner

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.


old flag

The National Museum of American History is working to preserve this flag for future generations.

Here is a video by Dudley Rutherford in which he tells the story behind the Star Spangled Banner: