The Star Spangled Banner

This page is dedicated to the memory of all who have lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States

During the 1980's, I visited the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution(NMAH). At that time, they had on display the inspiration for our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner. This is the flag that flew over Fort McHenry when the British attacked it on Sept. 13, 1814. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, had boarded a British ship to try to secure the release of a doctor held prisoner by the British. Key was not able get off the ship before the British fleet started attacking Ft. McHenry. When the bombing stopped, Key looked out and saw this flag flying defiantly over the fort and wrote down his feelings in a poem that would eventually become our national anthem.


At the time I visited the museum, the flag was kept behind a protective screen and only uncovered for a couple of minutes at a time, once an hour as time and pollution had taken its toll on the flag. No flash pictures were allowed, that is why the photo is so dark.

A few years back, the flag was taken down for conservation work done to help preserve the flag for future generations. This work is now done and the flag is once again on display at the National Museum of American History. You can see more about the flag and it's new home at http://americanhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/visit.aspx/ .

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