Francis Scott Key
Portrait of Francis Scott Key


SILICON VALLEY -- On July 4th 2020, the United States of America (USA) celebrated the 242nd Anniversary of its independence from Great Britain, but according with historical records, July 4th, 1776, was not the day the Continental Congress decided to declare independence.


The day when the Independence of the United States of America was actually declared by the Continental Congress, was July 2nd, but because the printed copies of the Declaration of Independence began to circulate two days later, with the date of July 4th listed on top,the Americans started celebrating their independence on the 4th of July. The celebrations of the Fourth of July as the United States of América's independence day, became even more common in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration of the Independence was written, so Congress declared July 4th to be the United States of America's INDEPENDENCE DAY and a national holiday as part of a bill officially recognizing several other holidays.


Born in Frederick County, Maryland, FRANCIS SCOTT-KEY was an attorney and poet. Who after marrying MARY TAYLOR LLOYD and fathering eleven children, in 1805 set his legal practice in Georgetown, which was then and independent municipality within Washington, D.C. 

THE WAR of 1812

But five years later, in the early 1810, the United States entered into a conflict with Britain over the kidnapping of U.S.  Seamen and the disruption of trade with France and even when KEY was opposed to the war due to his religious beliefs, he served in the Light Field Artillery. During the conflic. the British forces captured Washington D.C. and among the taken prisoner was Dr. WILLIAM BEANES, which was a colleague of FRANCIS SCOTT-KEY.  Being an attorney, KEY was asked to help in the negotiations with the British of BEANES' release.

In September 13, 1814, Vice Admiral ALEXANDER COCHRANE gave an order for the British naval ships to commence firing at FORT McHenry located in the Baltimore Harbor and one of the lines of defense for Baltimore. If the fort was captured, Baltimore could fall. It happened than on that day, KEY was on the Brithish ship, checking the prisioners, He had been able to secure BEANES' freedom, already, but he had not been allowed to return to land until the British had completed their bombardment of Fort McHenry.

US Flag


So, from the British ship FRANCIS SCOTT KEY observed what would become a day-long assault on Fort McHenry.  As an American, he knew that if the fort fell into British hands, the just formed United States will lose (with Washington D.C. that has been burned by the British the month before.) another major coastal city. Fort McHenry was now the only stronghold left and without it, Britain could claim victory for the entire war.

But After continual bombing all night long, the British were unable to destroy Fort McHenry, and its flag (that had been sewn by MARY YOUNG PICKERSGILL at the request of the Fort Commander kept flying on its mast, ragged, shredded by the bullets, but daringly, flapping on the wind, over Fort McHenry. And unable to stop it from flying, the British ceased their attack on the fort, and left the area.

Describing what he had observed on that night, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY wrote a poem, that years later, was set to a song by JOHN STAFFORD SMITH that came to be called "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER"


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