Star Spangled Banner – from the beginning

September 11th, 2014 by Ken

200 years ago our country was at war, and we had been for nearly two years.  During that time we had suffered defeat after defeat as we waged our second war for independence.

The British, who regarded Americans as a runaway school boy, was treating us as such.

In their fight against Napoleon they hadn’t forgotten that the French helped us in our first war of independence.

In order to punish – Americans – the British had whipped up indian uprisings while arming the tribes, in an effort to keep the former colonists from settling in the Mississippi valley.   In order to keep their navy stocked they stopped and kidnapped more than 5000 American sailors to serve in their fleet.

It was these acts and others that caused America to declare war on England in 1812.   We didn’t realize how ill-equipped we were to wage war against the greatest military power in the world.

We were treated as a backwater belligerent  by England, but once they defeated Napoleon they turned their full attention  to America.

Up and down the Atlantic seaboard the British Naval and armed forces launched raids against American cities.   Just two weeks prior they had burned Washington DC.

Now the British Navy and armed forces were anchored off the shores of Baltimore ready to attack and burn another American city.

Stopping them was Ft. McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore harbor.  In order to get to Baltimore the fleet had to destroy the fort.

After a day and night of constant bombardment the British realized they couldn’t proceed any further and withdrew.

Watching the bombardment from one of the British ships was an American –  Francis Scott Key.    In the morning light he watched to see if the fort had fallen.

Flying from the ramparts of the fort flew a large American flag with 15 stars and 13 stripes.

The Americans had held the fort and stopped the British.

Key was moved  to write a poem – set it to music – and titled it  “In Defense  of Ft. McHenry.   It was an immediate success.

In it he used the term – – Star Spangled Banner – – for the first time, a term we still use today.   In 1931 his song ‘ The Star Spangled Banner – became this country’s national anthem.

And it all happened 200 years ago on September 12.

Posted in History, The Real News

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