I read the article in the Gazette about the writing of the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. We, Americans and especially Texans, appreciate acts of heroism and defense of our country to the death. “Remember the Alamo and Goliad!” Therefore, I must add some details to the story at Fort McHenry, so that the audience may appreciate the heroism in protection and defense of that flag, representing our newly won freedom from tyranny.

The following is an excerpt from “Would You Hold Up the Flag?” And the whole article can be found on my blog, “Your Pearls Must Always be Real.”

The short version is that the British Navy had hundreds of ships in the harbor at Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. They gave the insurgents one way out of being slaughtered… they could lower their flag at any time and the battery of artillery would immediately stop, the war would be over and Great Britain would once again, be in control of the new country. The patriots, of course, were determined that wasn't going to happen. A flag (two flags, actually) had been commissioned with dimensions of 32 x 40 feet with each star being 2 feet across, so that there would be no question that the enemy could see it flying from any vantage point.

Francis Scott Key, an attorney, had been sent to one of the British ships to make a deal for the release of prisoners when the officer told him they would all be free by the next morning because they would again be in control of the land.

Advertisement

The firing commenced and Key watched it all from the ship. He conveyed what was happening to the prisoners in the hold of the ship in a play-by-play account. They kept asking him if the flag was still flying? Is the flag still flying? Can you still see the flag? The men below were praying during the night that the flag was still there in the morning. The British aimed all they had at the flag for the last three hours of the assault.

In the morning after all was over, there on the high point was the flag...in tatters...and at an odd angle, but there, nonetheless. History tells us that the odd angle was because during the attack, the flag pole was snapped and to keep the flag flying, even though bombs were coming in faster and heavier, patriots were holding it up there. As each man was killed, another replaced him and another and another.
These were the patriots that won our freedom....the kind of men that are heroes...the kind of men that have maintained our freedom.

Sharon Van Baale