The Star Spangled Banner June 12 2012, 0 Comments

Altissimo Salutes Flag Day

Contributed by: Jack Kopstein

People across the United States celebrate Flag Day each year (June 14, 2012) to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption. Many people in the United States honor this day by displaying the American flag at homes and public buildings. Other popular ways of observing this holiday include: flag-raising ceremonies; Flag Day services; school quizzes and essay competitions about the American flag; musical salutes; street parades; and awards for special recognition. In addition, the celebration of Flag Day we honor the men and women who served America over the decades. The most well-known march which saluted the flag was of course John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever written on a return trip from Europe in 1896 while aboard the Teutonic. Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.  On Sept. 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington, DC. The release was secured, but Key was detained on ship overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore. In the morning, he was so delighted to see the American flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion. First published under the title “Defense of Fort McHenry,” the poem soon attained wide popularity as sung to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven.” The origin of this tune is obscure, but it may have been written by John Stafford Smith, a British composer born in 1750. The Star-Spangled Banner was officially made the National Anthem by Congress in 1931, although it already had been adopted as such by the Army and the Navy.