Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 16, 2013

Story behind our 'National Anthem'

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Dear Editor,

In the early days of America, Briton was unwilling for the pioneers of the 13 United States of America to be free. Consider the statement included in our Declaration of Independence written in 1776, "The history of the King of Great Briton is a history of repeated injuries and usurptions, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." Included was The Stamp Act which was taxation on Americans to raise funds to help support the British Army stationed in America after 1763. Those early American pioneers were confronted with much adversity in establishing the great nation which America is today.

During the War of 1812, British forces had taken prisoner a physician, Dr. William Beanes and held him aboard a warship in Chesapeak Bay. Francis Scott Key and John Skinner both from Washington, D. C. were given permission by the Secretary of State James Monroe to communicate with the British in an effort to get the doctor released.

The British were preparing to bombard Ft. McHenry which protected the city of Baltimore. The bombardment started on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1814 and continued all day and all night. When confronted concerning Dr. Beanes, the British agreed they would release him but they continued to hold him and the other Americans until after the battle ended. Toward morning of Sept. 14, it became clear the American forces had withstood the 25 hour bombardment. After sunrise, the British did release the three Americans. And after Francis Scott Key was released and he saw our flag flying, he was inspired to write a poem about what he had seen and heard that night concerning the Star Spangled Banner. The poem was set to the melody of an old military march and became popular immediately. But it wasn't until March 1931 Congress officially approved the song as our national anthem. As we hear and sing it today, it is hard to realize the circumstances of our National Anthem.

As old glory came into being, born amid the strife of battle, it became the standard around which free people struggled to form this great nation. It is good for we Americans who love our nation and The Star Spangled Banner to review the words of Francis Scott Key's poem which is our National Anthem.

"The National Anthem"

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Yours truly

Lawrence Powell