National Anthem Day: March 3rd
Lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star –Spangled Banner” in 1814 to commemorate the American victory against the British at the Battle of Baltimore. While detained on a British ship during the War of 1812, he was inspired to write the hymn after waking to find that the American flag still flew over Fort McHenry, signifying that the British had not captured Baltimore. While the National Anthem is now one of the most recognizable songs in the world, many facts about its composition and history are still little known. Below are some historical facts about the anthem.
1. The Original “Star-Spangled Banner”- The flag that flew over Fort McHenry on that August day in 1814 was made by Mary Young Pickersgill, a Baltimore flag-maker. The flag measured 30 feet by 42 feet and was sold to Fort McHenry for $405.90. That might not sound like a lot for such a massive flag, but consider that around the same period a cow cost about $10 in Maryland. The flag is on display at the Museum of American History, but you might notice something “off” about it: the flag is now 30 feet by 34 feet! This is not due to battle damage, but rather pieces of the flag cut off as mementos in the 19th century.
2. The Tune- When Key first wrote “The Defense of Fort M’Henry”, he intended for it to serve as an inspirational poem. However, his brother-in-law noticed that the lyrics fit the tune of a popular drinking song of the time – “The Anacreontic Song”. The tune stuck and the song quickly became popular across the country.
3. As National Anthem- While “The Star-Spangled Banner” was often played on July 4th and at baseball games, it did not become the national anthem of the United States until 1931. Before that time, the US had no national anthem!
Happy National Anthem Day from Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers!