History Behind "The Star-Spangled Banner"

When I was younger, my father had taken me on road trip around the northeastern region of the United States, site seeing and attending musical performances. Though there wasn’t a whole lot that stood out to me from this trip, one site in particular had stuck with me, and that was Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland. During the War of 1812, the fort was able to successfully defend the Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy, in what is now known as the Battle of Baltimore (September 13-14, 1814). The bombardment of Fort McHenry and the subsequent US victory had inspired an American lawyer, by the name of Francis Scott Key, to write a poem about this battle and the American flag that flew over the fort during the U.S. victory. The poem, which was entitled, “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” was later set to music derived from “To Anacreon in Heaven” (a popular British song by John Stafford Smith) and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In 1931, the song officially became the national anthem of the United States and is now played at ceremonies and various events around the nation. Since this piece has some interesting history behind it and is used so frequently, I decided it would be worth trying a rendition of “The Star- Spangled Banner” on my own.