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Fort McHenry: Birthplace of the National Anthem

If you’re wondering what makes Fort McHenry so great, or what is so important about the Star Spangled Banner, then you’ve come to the right place. This page is going to give you everything you need to know about:

  • The Importance of Fort McHenry
  • What Fort McHenry Was Used For
  • The Flag That Gave This Nation Its Anthem
  • The Fort And Star Spangled Banner Today
  • How To Get Your Own Star Spangled Banner
  • Why Is Fort McHenry Important?

    Located in Baltimore, Maryland at the entrance to the Port of Baltimore, Fort McHenry was designed and built in 1798 to defend Baltimore against enemy attack. The fort was designed as a five sided structure to defend against land or water attacks on the Chesapeake Bay. However, Fort McHenry is best known for its role in the War of 1812.

    Early in the morning on September 13, 1814, the British began a naval assault on the fort, while preparing to attack the city of Baltimore. Using 18 cannons and a variety of other methods to keep the British Navy away from the city, the soldiers at the fort valiantly defended the Fort and the City of Baltimore. The attack continued throughout the day, and ended in the morning of September 14, 1814, with the United States able to hold off the British attackers.

    The most iconic moment of the assault came to light after the fact by a person who witnessed the attack. It was when a Baltimore lawyer, named Francis Scott Key, who was trying to arrange for the release of a prisoner. While watching helplessly from a British ship, Key paid close attention to the attack through the night. When dawn broke on the 13th, Key was drawn to the fact that despite the relentless attack for more than 24 hours, the American flag that was flying in Fort McHenry was still flying, meaning that the attack was not successful. Shortly thereafter, Key was allowed to leave the ship and return to Baltimore, where his account of the attack was published in the newspaper. And of course the incredible poem titled “The Defense of Fort McHenry” eventually became known as The Star Spangled Banner and is now the United States National Anthem.

    Check out this historical account of the assault and battle that onlookers like Francis Scott Key saw so vividly. It really gives detailed visuals to the historical day!

    What Is Fort McHenry Famous For?

    Aside from the war of 1812, the Star Spangled Banner and the National Anthem, Fort McHenry is known for quite a bit more.

    In the 19th century, Fort McHenry briefly became a prison for one man! This was a pivotal moment for the US judicial system in a very contentious point of the American civil war era. You can read more about John Merryman and the suspension of Habeas Corpus to learn more!

    Throughout the First and Second World Wars, the fort stood in as a military hospital or base at different points in time. It’s safe to say that Fort McHenry was important to the US for many reasons throughout its life.

    Today, the Fort is a recreational center and National park (named in 1939) that people can visit. It is an incredible building with a unique design you have to see to truly believe. It was built in the star shape to make it great in defense from the water and the land on any side of the building.

    The Flag that really skyrocketed the fort into stardom, is still available to see as well. The faded and tattered Star Spangled Banner is on display at the National Museum of American History in a specially made dim light setting to preserve it as long as possible.

    If you are inspired by Fort McHenry or the Star Spangled Banner is what you’re looking for, you can get a perfectly made digitally printed flag of your own here. It is one of the most historically significant flags we have here at Gettysburg Flag Works.

    What Is The Star Spangled Banner?

    The Star Spangled Banner has been used to represent a few things over the years. It is the original name for the 15 star and 15 stripe American flag that was used from 1795 to 1818. It represented the addition of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. This flag is the only US flag to have more than 13 stripes. This is because the original plan was to add a stripe and a star for every state added to the Union. When it became clear that the United states was set to expand and the flag may end up becoming too complicated, it was decided that only a new star would be added to the canton with each additional state.

    The 15 star and 15 stripe flag wasn't the only thing that became known as the star spangled banner. As mentioned above, it helped inspire Francis Scott Key to write a poem that would later be named the star spangled banner and represent The United States Of America. It was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1931, giving the US an anthem that represents the hardship that created such a strong and resilient country.

    How To Get Your Own Star Spangled Banner

    Unfortunately, you can’t take the original 15 star master piece that is currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum, but you can still get the same style flag for your own Fort McHenry homestead! Whether you have a house mounted pole or brand new in-ground flag pole, you can show off your Star Spangled Banner and have it in just a few days. Enjoy your freedom with Gettysburg Flag Works. Pride. Liberty. Honor.