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Star-Spangled Banner

The United States’ national anthem is called the "Star-Spangled Banner" and it has a long and rich history. The song itself was said to be based upon a large American flag  waving in the air after the battle raged on at Fort McHenry near Baltimore, Maryland. But where did this flag originate? A woman by the name of Mary Pickersgill was asked to make two large flags to be flown over Fort McHenry. She sewed the Star-Spangled Banner in a size of 30 x 42 feet and was paid about $405 for the sewing job. She was very experienced in her flag making and knew exactly what the proper specifications were. The historic American flag originally had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, although one star was later cut out of the flag. Once the battle was over and the dust settled, the flag still waved high in the air, inspiring the famous song. 

The flag was inherited by colonel George Armistead’s widow, who eventually gave small pieces of the flag to several people and other family members as keepsakes and memoirs of the battle. In 1878, a  New York  stockbroker named Eben Appleton inherited the flag. He eventually donated it to the Smithsonian so all the citizens of America could enjoy its rich history and beauty. Many different symbols had represented America, but it wasn’t until after the War of 1812 and the song that Francis Scott Key wrote to commemorate the flag’s strength and beauty, that the flag began to hold a special place in peoples’ hearts. 

Today people can view the flag at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. or even buy a reproduction of the flag. There are also museums dedicated to the history of the flag across the country. While the original flag took a lot of fire from guns and bombs, its strength and beauty still shines through today. If it weren’t for that huge and beautiful flag waving proudly over the men fighting in the battle below, the United States of America wouldn’t have such a proud national anthem that represents our red, white, and blue.

(The Defense of Fort McHenry)
September 20, 1814
By Francis Scott Key

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!