Flag Day 2016 with Francis Scott Key Letter

Today’s blog post is Flag Day 2016 with Francis Scott Key Letter to his friend John Randolph which describes “the circumstances which inspired him to write “The Star Spangled Banner”.  

The subject for today’s blog post means it is one of my longer blog posts and in addition includes the 2014 Star-Spangled Forever® Stamp commemorating 200th anniversary, the 1814 printed edition of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and even more.    It has been enjoyable writing today’s blog post at lunch with our puppy Cooper sleeping on both of my feet!

Francis Scott Key Letter

There is a very well written blog post I came across written in 2012 that goes into great detail about the letter Francis Scott Key sent to John Randolph.

“Francis Scott Key described the circumstances which inspired him to write “The Star Spangled Banner” in a letter to his friend John Randolph of Roanoke. In the letter, he makes no mention of the hymn which he composed on the occasion. Francis Scott Key-Smith wrote a biography of his illustrious ancestor in which the letter appears. He supplements the letter with personal observations of the historic occasion.”

“The Star Spangled Banner” was composed amid the gunfire of the British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore in the Chesapeake Bay on September 13, 1814. Key was a lawyer and at one time District Attorney of the District of Columbia. He was on an errand, while under a flag of truce, to the British fleet when he was detained by the British during the bombardment of the fortifications. 35 year old Key originally titled his poem “Defense of Fort McHenry”.“You will be surprised to hear that I have spent eleven days in the British fleet. I went with a flag to endeavor to save poor old Dr. Beans a voyage to Halifax, in which we fortunately succeeded.”…

To read the entire article click here.

Star-Spangled Banner 2014 Forever® Stamp

The stamp shown upper left today is the Forever US Stamp “The Star-Spangled Banner” issued in January 2014 for commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner.  It was issued in double-sided booklets of 20 and self-adhesive coils of 100 stamps.

“The Star-Spangled Banner Stamps feature a treasured American icon ever since Francis Scott Key celebrated the sight of an American flag still flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

You can click on this image of “The Star Spangled Banner”, and then click again – you will then be able to see an enlarged version.

This stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner with a photograph of the flag that flies over Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore. This flag is a replica of the one that inspired Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after Fort McHenry withstood the British attack of September 13-14, 1814.”…
Just as the article above includes the words to all four verses, I’ve includes here on the left, a 1814 copy of the The Star-Spangled Banner from first printed edition that shows combined words and sheet music of all four verses.

It was interesting to read over at Wikipedia that there was a “Additional Civil War period lyrics with a fifth stanza added in 1861 to songbooks of the era by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.”

There is a great article on Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day from two years ago over at the Smithsonian – National Museum of American History blog.

It is hard to believe it has been a year since my blog post last year for Flag Day with “The little book of the flag”  that was written in 1917.

This is from 2014 National Museum of American History with a “special version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in honor of the song’s 200th anniversary.”  There is an additional short YouTube with Josh Turner talking about singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Thank you for joining me today for Flag Day 2016 with Francis Scott Key Letter.  I’m closing with the last three lines of the fourth stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner:  
“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!”

Anchors Aweigh,  


Flag Day 2016 with Francis Scott Key Letter – Attribution & Thank you to the following who are referenced today 

Image shown upper left USPS.com The Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamp   @USPS   @USPSStamps

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence APRIL 10, 2012  blog post– Francis Scott Key – Letter to John Randolph – by blogger: City-On-A-Hill 

Image above Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain – “This 1814 copy of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the first printed edition to combine the words and sheet music. Copies such as these were sold from a catalog of Thomas Carr’s Carr Music Store in Baltimore. Currently this is one of only ten copies known to exist, and is housed in the Library of Congress.”  Uploaded May 8, 2005

YouTube Josh Turner performs “The Star-Spangled Banner” posted by the National Museum of American History Published on Jun 11, 2014  “Grammy-nominated country music singer Josh Turner performs a special version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in honor of the song’s 200th anniversary.      The museum will “Raise It Up!” and celebrate the 200th anniversary by uniting the original manuscript with the flag at the Museum from June 14-July 6, 2014 and holding a special event at the museum on Flag Day (Saturday, June 14, 2014). Join the party:http://anthemforamerica.smithsonian.com/”…
YouTube Josh Turner talking about singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” National Museum of American History published on June 11, 2014  

Smithsonian – O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History blog– Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day by Intern Talia Berday-Sacks, June 10, 2014

Wikipedia The Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key – Lyrics 1814, National Anthem of the United States

AnchoredScraps.com blog post – “The little book of the flag” June 14, 2015 written by Helen Rittersporn



Select Month