The U.S. national anthem and the flag that inspired it are legacies of the War of 1812. British forces gathered to attack Baltimore in September 1814. After a 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry, they failed to penetrate Baltimore’s defenses and withdrew. Francis Scott Key, witnessing the bombardment and seeing a huge 30x42-foot American flag over the garrison, was moved to write four stanzas of lyrics to a popular tune of the day.
Last updated: September 8, 2020