Star-Spangled Banner - Summary

If it weren’t for Old Doc Beanes, the Star-Spangled Banner may have never been written. The much-loved doctor was missing, although everyone knew where he was. The British had captured him, during the War of 1812.

Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, was asked to negotiate the doctor’s release. But that meant Key and his negotiating companion, Colonel John Skinner, were also in the hands of the British (as they planned an attack on Baltimore). None of the Americans were free to leave the ship. They’d heard too much.

Key watched the raging battle from the British ship Tonnant. In the distance, he saw a large flag above Fort McHenry (which guarded Baltimore Harbor). He also saw something unusual: A new type of bombshell which exploded into deadly fragments. Those British “rockets” produced red streaks as they traveled 2½ miles through the night sky.

During the night, the shelling stopped. Amidst the quiet, Key wondered whether Fort McHenry had fallen. Then, as dawn lit the sky, Key saw Fort McHenry’s flag. Baltimore was saved. Overwhelmed with emotion, Key wrote a poem which eventually became America’s national anthem.

In this story behind the Star-Spangled Banner, take a trip back in time to Fort McHenry. See its large flag, which still survives. Learn why it was commissioned by Fort McHenry’s commander.

Examine Key’s original poem and uncover the background of its hard-to-sing melody. The music’s source is an interesting story all by itself.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Feb 07, 2017

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Star-Spangled Banner" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2002. Aug 16, 2018.
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