How many Americans can tell you the story behind the symbols of history?

Celebrating the symbols of American history: The Star Spangled Banner and the Battle of Baltimore

This weekend marks the 200th anniversary of a notable event in American history.  Other than the website of the national park that is commemorating the event, there's not much conversation to be found.

If I asked 10 people the significance of September 14th, 1814, I would be surprised if more than one person could answer correctly. 

Does anyone study history anymore?

From studying history in school I remember names and dates on a timeline. History is more than just memorizing a date.  Throuhout my life I have visited many historic sites to learn more about the events associated with the famous names and dates.

I recall a volunteer tour guide at a historic site lamenting that Americans really don't know much about history.  The guide was a World War II veteran who was sharing his personal insights and perspectives of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II.

There are many symbols in our lives that we accept, without knowing why. As a parent I often took my kids to many historic sites to give some meaning to those names and dates on a timeline.

In the aftermath of the terrorism of September 2001, I wanted to take our family somewhere to reflect on the price America has paid for freedom. We visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the birthplace of our National Anthem.

Before every sporting event and many other social gatherings we rise for the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. But how many Americans can tell you the story behind the song?

The 200th anniversary of the story behind the symbol


Those who say we celebrate September 14th, 1814 as the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner are missing the story behind the symbol.

Francis Scott Key was an American prisoner on a British ship who saw the large American flag still flying above Fort McHenry's ramparts.   On the morning of the September 14th, 1814, inspired by the American flag waving above Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key would write that "the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Key's poem "Defence of Fort McHenry"  is a first hand account of the young American republic as they held their ground over Britain in The Battle of Baltimore.
 

Take some time to learn more

America's often forgotten conflict is given so little meaning that we name it simply by the year the war started. The War of 1812 is an important conflict in the fight for American independence. As I pondered what if they had the internet in 1812, I suggested we rename it the "Revenge of the British" or at the very least "The American Revolution Part II."

Visit my site AmericanPhilosopher.US to learn more on The Star Spangled Banner at the Battle of Baltimore.

Check out the National Parks Service as they celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.