September 11, 2001
In memory of the innocent lives that were abruptly snatched from our lands. In dedication to the thousands that work unselfishly and untiringly thru the weathering storms in search of our missing and buried. And to a nation that remains ‘One Nation Under God’, we mourn.
Francis Scott Key
At 7 a.m. on the morning of September 13, 1814, the British bombardment began, and our flag was ready to meet the enemy. This continued for 25 hours. The British fired the rockets that arced red flame across the sky. . That evening the firing stopped, but at about 1 a.m. on the 14th, the British fleet roared to life, lighting the sky once again.
Francis Scott Key and others watched the battle with apprehension. They knew that as long as the shelling continued, Fort McHenry had not surrendered. But, before daylight a sudden and mysterious silence occurred. What Key and the others did not know was that the British's land attack on Baltimore as well as the naval attack, had been abandoned.
Waiting in the predawn darkness, Key waited for the sight that would end his anxiety; the joyous sight of Gen. Armisteads great flag blowing in the breeze. When at last daylight came, the Flag Was Still There!
On This very morning of September 14, 1814, Key began to write on the back of a letter he had in his pocket. Sailing back to Baltimore he composed more lines and in his lodgings at the Indian Queen Hotel he finished the poem. It was printed in a newspaper, the Baltimore Patriot, on September 20th,1814. In October a Baltimore actor sang Key's song in a public performance and called it "The Star-Spangled Banner".
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Our Flag is Still There