Today, 198 years ago, American lawyer Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner, while held captive by British forces during the Battle of Baltimore.
It was during what became known as the War of 1812, fought between Britain and the United States, over various issues including trade and territorial disagreements (including attempts by the U.S. to annex Canadian territory).
In August of 1814, the British captured and burned Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. They moved on to attack Baltimore, Maryland. Over a two-day battle, 13-14 September 1814, they would be repulsed by Maryland and national forces. On the morning of the 14th, Key saw the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry, and was inspired to write his poem The Defense of Fort McHenry.
His poem would soon be set to a tune of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century London club of amateur musicians, and become known as The Star Spangled Banner.
On 3 March 1931, Congress would officially declare The Star Spangled Banner to be the official anthem of the United States of America.
- I took this photo on 11 September 2012, in Arlington, Virginia. It's a large United States flag draped on the County Building, in honor of the more than 3,000 Americans who lost their lives on 11 September 2001, when terrorists attacked in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, and Shankesville, Pennsylvania ... and, as of Wednesday, in honor of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other personnel, who were murdered during a terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
- Caveat lector: My source for much of the history above was Wikipedia. Even so, its information seemed well-annotated.