The Star-Spangled Banner

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.

Both the flag and anthem have become known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Learn about the history of each though the links below.

The Great Garrison Flag
The Great Garrison Flag

The flag represented America’s pride and resilience in the War of 1812--an enduring symbol of the nation’s identity and ideals.

The National Anthem
The National Anthem

The sight of the flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that would become America's national anthem.

Last updated: September 8, 2020

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