The Real Story of the Star Spangled Banner

By | December 10, 2018

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Patrons walk among the canons and an American flag flown at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD on September 9, 2014, the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Colin Kaepernick knelt through it. Rosanne Barr grabbed her crotch while singing it. Whitney Houston nailed it beautifully. James Taylor forgot the words to it. And Jimi Hendrix put his own unique twist on it. Of course, we are talking about the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America. This one song has sparked an equal amount of pride and controversy, but one thing we can all agree with…there is more to the anthem than meets the eye. Here is what you might not know about the Star Spangled Banner.

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It Started Life as a Poem

Okay, you probably already knew that. The Star Spangled Banner was written in September of 1814 by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, not a poet, as he was hoping to see the flag of the United States still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of fighting during the War of 1812. Key had a unique vantage point from which to watch the fighting, which became known as the Battle of Baltimore…the American watched the battle from a British ship. Key had gone willingly aboard the enemy vessel in hopes of talking the British into releasing his friend who was being held there. On the ship, Key learned of the impending attack on Fort McHenry. The Brits couldn’t risk him warning the American troops so they detained him until after the battle.