Happy birthday to our national anthem

September 14, 2021

It was on this day in 1814 that an American lawyer and poet named Francis Scott Key wrote what was to become his most famous poem, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” while on board a British Navy ship in Chesapeake Bay. Key had been negotiating with the British for the release of a prisoner they had taken in a raid on Washington, but because he had heard about the Navy’s plans for attacking Baltimore, he was not released until after the battle. That was how he came to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the deck of H.M.S. Tonnant on the night of September 13. When the sun rose the following morning, and Key saw the stars and stripes flying over Fort McHenry, the sight inspired him to write a poem. Soon afterward, Key’s words were set to the melody of a popular song by English composer John Stafford Smith. “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931. 


Wednesday weirdness

August 1, 2018

It’s the birthday of Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), who would roll over in his grave if he could hear Tim Hawkins imagining his greatest hit as sung by various pop music has-beens.


Happy flag day

June 14, 2015


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