The Story Behind the Story of The Star Spangled Banner

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

It was a deadly September attack on America. Casualties on our own shores. The nation’s capitol targeted. The White House in danger. Terror. Heroes.

One hero was Francis, a Georgetown attorney heavily involved in national politics. An evangelical Christian, Francis taught Bible classes and witnesses boldly, once telling a friend in Congress, “Christ alone can save you from the sentence of condemnation.”

Nothing prepared Francis for the hostage-recovery mission he undertook at the request of the President of the United States. He was seeking the release of a prominent physician, Dr. Beanes, who had been taken captive. During that assignment he was detained by enemy troops and forced to watch a brutal assault on the eastern seaboard.
Toward the morning of September 14, 1814, when it became clear that American forces had withstood the 25 hour bombardment, Francis Scott Key penned another hymn, scribbling it on the back of and envelope. His brother-in-law, commander of a militia at Fort McHenry, read Key’s work and had it distributed under the name “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The Baltimore Patriot newspaper soon printed it, and within weeks, Key’s poem, now called “The Star-Spangled Banner,” appeared in print across the country, immortalizing his words—and forever naming the flag it celebrated.

The first stanza we all know, but have you ever sung the last stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner”?

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just.
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

After sunrise, the British released Francis, and back in Baltimore he wrote this hymn in fuller form and showed it to his brother-in-law who promptly gave it to the printer who ran off handbills for distribution on the streets. One copy landed in the hands of an unknown musician who adapted it to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven” So was born the patriotic hymn that was to become our national anthem.

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