200 years ago this morning, Francis Scott Key wrote what would become America’s national anthem, “The Star-spangled Banner.” He had just witnessed the British Navy bombard Fort McHenry for 25 solid hours. After the smoke cleared, he looked to the fort’s flag to see if it was still flying. It was.
His poem about the attack, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” was later set to music. In 1931, it became our national anthem and the song that, for some reason, starts every sporting event in this country.
Fort McHenry sits just outside of Baltimore Harbor. Yesterday, I went downtown to check in on the festivities celebrating the 200th anniversary of Key’s poem.
Naturally, it was pouring rain virtually the entire time. The tall ships and naval vessel visiting from around the world were still fascinating to see.
My friends and I walked from the Inner Harbor to Fell’s Point. If you ever do come to Baltimore, the Fell’s Point neighborhood must be on your list of things to see.
The Blue Angels, the US Navy’s flight-demonstration squadron, gave an aerial performance despite the weather. I wasn’t looking too forward to it–I’m not very “rah! rah! America!”–but, I have to say, it was really impressive to see those birds flying. Everyone in Fell’s Point jumped to their feet and ran outside to watch.
I unfortunately missed the best events–last night’s fireworks show and performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. I did catch the live broadcast of the show when they played Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture–probably my favorite piece of classical music (though I always picture Parliament exploding when I hear it).
All in all, it was a good way to spend a rainy day. And it made me even more convinced that You. Must. Visit. Baltimore!