Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seafaring Sunday: Rockets Red Glare

In September, 1814, a 35 year old lawyer named Fancis Scott Key was sent aboard HMS Tonnant, at anchor in Chesapeake Bay outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Key's mission was to negotiate the release of American prisoners held by the British during the War of 1812. Unfortunately for Key, the British were about to attack the city. On September 13th, he was "detained" by his hosts and forced to watch the battle from the deck of HMS Surprise. As we now know, he saw the fifteen stars and fifteen stripes waving over Fort McHenry when the sun rose on the 14th. He wrote his poem The Defence of Fort McHenry then and there and, in 1931, it was adopted as the official anthem of the U.S.A.

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

In answer to your question, Mr. Key: hell yes! Happy Birthday to the U.S. and happy Sunday to all.

Picture: U.S. ensign aboard USS Texas.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! And a belated Happy Birthday to the good ol' US of A...

Wait, we fought a second war with the British in 1812? Who knew? Just kidding, Pirate Queen.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! No kidding, huh?