Does the flag still stand?
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from a poem written on September 14, 1814, by 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.
It is told that the story went like this: Francis Scott Key was sent to negotiate the exchange of war prisoners with the British admiral. The admiral told the American lawyer that the men in the prisons below would have been free by the following morning, anyways, because the entire British fleet was going to attack Fort McHenry, a large fort on the mouth of the Patapsco river, north of Washington, D.C.. The admiral was convinced that this attack would have made the American forces surrender to British rule once and for all. When Key told the admiral that the fort had been mainly inhabited by women and children, the admiral replied that if the American troops would lower that gigantic flag that flew over the ramparts of the fort, the British would immediately cease the attack.
The flag was never lowered and the British started to bomb the fort that night and the bombing and cannon fire continued through the night. At times, the red explosions of the bombs would light up the sky and the flag could still be seen standing.
In the end, by the time morning came, the British fleet had used up all its munitions and, when the cannon attacks ceased, the flag could still be seen standing proudly in the light of dawn.
Francis Scott Key later learned, it is told, that the flag indeed had fallen numerous times over the arc of the attack but that it had been heroically propped and maintained aloft by the bravery of American soldiers who, through the night, had given their life to see to it that the Star-Spangled Banner would be still standing come the morning.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was first recognized for official use by the U.S. Navy in 1889. On March 3, 1931, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution making the song the official national anthem of the United States, which President Herbert Hoover signed into law.
star-spangled: a stelle e strisce
national anthem: inno nazionale
to witness: testimoniare
to lower: ammainare
to light up: illuminare
to prop: puntellare, tenere in piedi
to maintain aloft: mantenere in aria, in volo
come the morning: il mattino seguente
joint resolution: risoluzione comune
to sign into law: essere promulgato
Listen to the US National Anthem, THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER, and read the lyrics by clicking on the following link: