United States of America Flag,
Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and Fort McHenry 

Picture, Lyrics, Story and Music of our National Anthem

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Fort McHenry Flag

The actual flag flown over Fort McHenry.

30 by 42 feet and costing $405.90 ($5,440.21 in 2007).  

The flag was made from 400 yards of wool bunting. 

The 15 stars each measured two feet from point to point. 

The Flag is currently housed in the National Museum of American History.

The Words of the National Anthem

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, half conceals, half 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, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The Story

The British entered Chesapeake Bay on August 19, 1814 and in just 5 days invaded and captured the young Republic's Capital, burning down both the Capitol and White House with flames visible 40 miles away in Baltimore next to be attacked.

The "war of 1812" was quickly coming to a sad end.  Earlier in 1813 Maj. George Armistead (US)  the commander of Fort McHenry (Baltimore Port) asked for a flag so big  "the British would have no trouble seeing it from a distance."  

During the attack of Baltimore the townsfolk asked a young, 35 years old, attorney, Mr. Key, for his assistance in obtaining the release of the town physician, Dr. William Beanes, who was being held as a prisoner aboard a British ship.  Mr. Key along with Col. John Skinner, an agent for prisoner exchange,  sailed under a flag of truce 3 September.  Producing a pouch of letters from wounded British prisoners praising their care which Dr. Beanes provided, they were able to secure his release.

A decisive sea attack was soon to be launched by the British and 
the American party wasnot allowed to return  having seen the enemy's  preparations. The British began a bombardment of Fort McHenry which lasted 25 hours, firing bombshells weighing as much as 220 pounds.*

Seeing the flag still flying at day break, the attorney, Francis Scott Key, an amateur poet, wrote on the back of a letter while sailing back to Baltimore and later in his lodgings at the Indian Queen Hotel the poem which became our National Anthem.  It was printed in the Baltimore Patriot September 20th, and in the Baltimore American the next day followed by  a dozen more newspapers in the following weeks.
* "The British attack on Fort McHenry began early on September 13, 1814  in pouring rain.  All through the day and into the night, rockets and shells battered the fort that guarded Baltimore Harbor.  The British ships carried mortars capable of lobbing bombshells over a target from two miles away. The high-trajectory shells exploded above the heads of Americans in the fort, raining deadly shrapnel down on them.  Fires raged wherever the shells landed.  For much of the battle, the British bombshells were falling at a rate of one a minute.  As many as 1,800 bombs were fired at the fort; the U.S. commander later estimated that 400 fell within its walls."  Colleen Kelly

And the Music

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," to celebrate America's recent victory over the British. However, only in 1931, following a twenty-year effort during which more than forty bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, was a law finally signed proclaiming "The Star Spangled Banner" to be the national anthem of the United States.  Sheet Music of the National Anthem and the historic document of  Thomas Carr, 1814 Printed sheet music  one of 10 copies known in existence.  American Treasures Gallery of the Library of Congress
Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood sing the National Anthem during Super Bowl XLIV (2010).  Initial drums, Acappella, followed by U.S. Air force Jets "Fly Over"
Faith Hill
vocal, band
Faith Hill sings the National Anthem during Super Bowl XXIV, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Jan. 2000.  information linkYouTube Video
Josh Groban
vocal, band
Josh Groban singing the National Anthem at the world series.  information linkYouTube Video
Narration with Vocal and Music Accompaniment11 1/2 minute narration providing the patriotic story of Fort McHenry, "Stars and Stripes" and the National Anthem.  File was found on the "Web"  No source or origin was provided.Widows Media File 
Charlie Daniels
violin rendition
Since 1990,  Charlie Daniels and his band has performed on various sponsored tours including  Iraq and Afghanistan. Charlie Daniels  launched Operation Heartstrings in Nov. 2005 with the goal to put musical instruments into the hands of the men and women who serve our country...  information linkYouTube Video
acappella, quartet
Streetwise Quartet performing the Star Spangled Banner  at a Detroit Tigers baseball game May 2005.YouTube Video
Jose Feliciano
non traditional
vocal, guitar
Considered one of the first non traditional renderings, Jose Feliciano stunned the crowd at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and the rest of America, when he strummed a slow, bluesy rendition of the national anthem before Game 5 of the World Series, Oct. 1968.  information linkmp3 recording
Jimi Hendrix
non traditional
guitar solo
During the final set of the historic Woodstock music festival Jimi Hendrix let loose with a solo guitar rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.  Aug. 1969  music linkMusic Link is no longer allowed by Sony (what a shame-jim)
Nona Gaye
a duet with her Father's earlier recording
Nona Gaye sang a non traditional national anthem during the All-Star festivities at Staples Center in a video duet with her father, who had performed  "The Star-Spangled Banner"  21 years earlier.  information linkYouTube Video
Margaret Woodrow Wilson
vocal, orchestra
President Wilson's daughter, singing in a promotional recording  benefiting the Red Cross relief effort in Europe, May 1915.  information link and music download

212 versions of our National Anthem hosted by God Bless America.org

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Author / Editor Jim VanErmen is a: Licensed Alabama Real Estate Broker employed as an Associate Broker with Apex Listing LLC.,
An approved Alabama Real Estate Instructor / Educator, and Co-Founder Central Alabama Real Estate Academy
  RealtyVan.com is the premier local real estate information site now celebrating 12 years of Internet service.  Email Jim at  jimvanermen@yahoo.com
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