STAR SPANGLED BICENTENNIAL
During the night of September 13th, Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant to negotiate the release of prisoners held by the British, watched the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–14, 1814.
During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort’s smaller “storm flag” continued to fly, but once the shell and rocket barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. On the morning of September 14, during the next “dawn’s early light” the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised and was “gallantly streaming” over the Fort McHenry, leading Key to pen the poem that is now our national anthem.
The battle was a turning point in the war as the British advance had been thwarted and the war would be over by Christmas Eve when the parties signed the Treaty of Ghent .
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem on March 3, 1931.
Below are some of the more memorable renditions of the anthem.