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Francis Scott Key – (1779 – 1843) – Lawyer / Poet

Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the words to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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During the War of 1812, Key, went aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, to negotiate the release of a prisoner. Key and his party were allowed to return to their own sloop, but were not allowed to return to Baltimore because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13-September 14, 1814.

When the smoke cleared, Key was able to see an American flag still waving. On the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, "The Defence of Fort McHenry", which he published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. It has become better known as "The Star Spangled Banner". Under this name, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931.

Historical / Biographical information courtesy of Wikipedia.



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