O Say Does That Star-Spangled Banner Yet Wave: The Defense of Fort McHenry

Editor’s note: We’ve all sung it, but how many of us know the story behind it? This post ran one year ago today, and on this day of liberty we thought it’d be of interest to share once again. 

Star Spangled Banner

(Pictured: The Original Star Spangled Banner currently resides at the Smithsonian and was the inspiration for the poem by Francis Scott Key as detailed below)

The following has been excerpted from Mike Todd

Listen closely to the words and it tells of a highly emotional moment in US history when the war with the British was being fought and of one man’s relief in seeing the US flag still flying after a vicious bombardment.

The War of 1812 had been a particularly nasty conflict with the British. They had burned down the Capitol and the White House in Washington, and were set on taking the port of Baltimore, which was protected in part by Fort McHenry, just to the south.

The attack started on September 12th, 1814, and after an initial exchange of fire, the fleet withdrew to form an arc just outside the range of Fort McHenry’s fire.

Skinner, Beanes and Key watched much of the bombardment from the British deck. The major attack started in heavy rain on the morning of September 13th. Just under three miles in the distance the three men caught glimpses of the star-shaped fort with its huge flag – 42ft long, with 8 red stripes, 7 white stripes and 15 white stars, and specially commissioned to be big enough that the British could not possibly fail to see it from a distance.

In the dark of the night of the 13th, the shelling suddenly stopped. Through the darkness they couldn’t tell whether the British forces had been defeated, or the fort had fallen.

As the rain cleared, and the sun began to rise, Key peered through the lifting darkness anxious to see if the flag they had seen the night before was still flying. And so it was that he scribbled on the back of an envelope the first lines of a poem he called Defense of Fort M’Henry:

O, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming

As the mist started to clear he was aware that there was a flag flying – but was it the British flag? It was difficult to tell:

What is that which the breeze o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

But finally the sun rose, and with intense relief and pride he saw that the fort had withstood the onslaught …

‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Obama on SNL a Day Early: I Sent Thousands of Guns to Drug Cartels, But I Blame You for Mexican Crime Wave

You heard that right: the same man who gave thousands of military-grade weapons to Mexican drug cartels during “Operation Fast and Furious” now blames law-abiding citizens for gun violence in Mexico.

President Barack Obama told the Mexican people on Friday that he sees a “new Mexico” emerging, with a deepening democracy and growing economy, and that Mexico and the United States should be viewed as equal partners…

Drug-fueled violence in Mexico is not entirely the fault of the Mexican people, he said. Instead, the United States shares the blame because much of the violence is centered around the Americans’ demand for illegal drugs and the fact that guns are smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

“In this relationship there is no senior partner or junior partner. We are two equal partners, two sovereign nations that must work together in mutual interest and mutual respect,” Obama said.

A new book — “Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership” — describes how utterly insulated Barack Obama is from the real world:

“Obama has a cadre of idolizers around him, people such as Chicago friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett, and devoted adviser Denis McDonough, who is now White House chief of staff,” Walsh says in a note about his book.

… “He follows sports, which gives him a break from the tedium and keeps him from obsessing about politics, his advisers say. He watches ESPN and frequently will relax by enjoying games on live TV, especially basketball and football.

“But staying in touch requires constant effort, and it’s unclear whether Obama will, or can, keep up his current efforts amid all the time constraints, security limitations and pressures of office.”

In other words, Obama is so completely surrounded by sycophants that no one objected when he floated the idea of giving a speech indicting his own actions.

Hat tip: BadBlue News Service.

Doug Ross @ Journal