(Published Nov. 4, 2014)

My reasoning may be a little far-fetched, but since Veterans Day is Nov. 11, I felt how the “Star-Spangled Banner” came to be and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1812 MIGHT coincide with tributes to veterans, so the following is the article:

According to Google, my source for this article, the lyrics of the “Star-Spangled Banner” were written by Francis Scott Key in the summer of 1814. It did not officially become the United States’ national anthem until President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act on March 3, 1931.

Francis Scott Key was born on Aug. 9, 1780. He was a 35-year-old lawyer and an amateur poet when he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814, following a British attack from an American ship anchored out 8 miles away in Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, Maryland.

On Sept. 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate the victory over the British. It was this flag that inspired Key to write our national anthem. This flag is on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

A statue of Francis Scott Key stands at the center of the Fort McHenry Visitors Center in Baltimore. It would be well to visit this historical site.

When I resided in Washington, D.C. in the late ’40s, I visited Fort McHenry. It was so awesome and as I stood looking out into the bay, the “Star-Spangled Banner” came alive.

The beginning line of the “Star-Spangled Banner” is: “O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hail’d at the twlight’s last gleaming?” (The national anthem is sung at the beginning of all baseball games.)

May I add the following:

I was teaching an adult education class in citizenship and wanted the class to learn the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Singing is NOT one of my fortes. I was trying my best, so o say can you see me standing in front of 35 students to teach the national anthem? After I “sang,” they were kind enough to applaud me and I laughingly bowed and resumed teaching.


Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *