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Francis Scott Key and Patriotism

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Francis Scott Key and Patriotism

Post  May on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:32 pm


An article by our gracious hostess Elena. flower

Francis Scott Key, author of the national anthem, was born in Frederick County, Maryland. While I was growing up there we were acquainted with many Keys, mostly of mixed African and European descent; I guess they may have been relatives of FSK's family or their servants; I do not know for certain. In Francis Scott's day the Keys were enormously wealthy and owned vast tracts of land. Francis Scott Key, a fervent Episcopalian and father of six children, was a highly successful attorney in Baltimore and Washington. During the War of 1812, the British had taken as a prisoner his friend, the elderly Dr. William Beanes. They were holding Dr. Beanes on a war ship in Baltimore Harbor.

On September 13, 1814, during a truce, Key and another friend asked permission to board the ship to secure the release of the old physician. They had with them the signed statements of British soldiers whom the doctor had treated. Upon hearing of the doctor's kindness and mercy, the British authorities agreed to release him. However, since the British were about to start bombarding Fort McHenry and the city of Baltimore, Key and his compatriots had to spend the night on a sloop in the harbor and watch the attack. So heavy was the bombing that Key doubted that there would be anything left of the fort. At dawn, when he saw through the mist and smoke the tattered American flag still flying, such was his joy and amazement that he jotted down some lines of poetry. He later added to the verses and set the it to the tune of an old drinking song. "The Star-Spangled Banner" became immediately popular, although it was not made the official anthem of the United States of America until 1931.

Patriotism is a virtue; the love of country is not unconnected with the love of parents and family. To hate or to despise one's own country is as unnatural as hating or despising one's father or mother. It does not mean being blind to faults and mistakes; to do so is not healthy. It is the duty especially of free citizens to be aware of the weaknesses of their country so that they may work for its improvement. I think that the "Star-Spangled Banner" embodies wholesome sentiments of the love of country; it is a shame that so many people no longer know how to sing it.

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Re: Francis Scott Key and Patriotism

Post  Elena on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:31 pm

Thank you for posting this, M.! Smile

Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.

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