Most of think we know the back story behind our National Anthem. Well maybe we did…way back then when we were studying American History. What I know is, there were very few dry eyes in our group of 60 somethings after the lights came back on after the narrated account of the Battle of Baltimore. Francis Scott Key was a Baltimore attorney on a mission to free a friend who was arrested and held by the British Fleet. They were detained because they had learned of the British plan to attack Baltimore and so they witnessed the long, night bombardment from the deck of a U.S. truce ship. The Star Spangled Banner is Key’s reaction to how he felt when he saw Fort McHenry’s flag still aloft and waving on the dawn following that terrible night of uncertainty.
At the end of the stirring narrative about the attack, the lights dimmed and the screen slowly rose to reveal a glass wall. Perfectly framed on a nearby rise was the American Flag waving proudly in the wind. It was a very emotional moment for everyone. The poem that Key jotted down on that truce ship was published the next day and soon was set to music. It became the National Anthem only in 1931.