News / USA

'War of 1812' Flag Still Inspires After 200 Years

In this Nov. 20, 1998 file photo, workers at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History cover the flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner," prior to the flag's restoration.
In this Nov. 20, 1998 file photo, workers at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History cover the flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner," prior to the flag's restoration.
Ted Landphair
This is a really big year at Fort McHenry, a star-shaped fortification overlooking the harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore and a few other places are commemorating the 200th anniversary of the start of what Americans call the War of 1812 - even though it wasn’t finished until 1815. Fort McHenry, and an oversized flag that flew above it, played a memorable part in that war.

What is sometimes called our nation’s “Second War of Independence” against Britain was not going well for the young United States when Fort McHenry came into play in September of 1814. The British had torched the White House and Capitol in Washington, and they headed north to Baltimore.  

Their gunships pounded Fort McHenry mercilessly for 25 straight hours. If it fell, the harbor would be under British control, and so would Baltimore.
Only in America-Fort McHenry Flag
Only in America-Fort McHenry Flagi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


But at dawn, as Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who observed the shelling, wrote in a poem, a miraculous visage of “broad stripes and bright stars” of the U.S. flag appeared, still “gallantly streaming” over Fort McHenry.
An aerial view of Fort McHenry. The 15-star flag shown is current, but it approximates the oversized flag that flew over the fort during the fateful bombardment of 1814. (National Park Service)An aerial view of Fort McHenry. The 15-star flag shown is current, but it approximates the oversized flag that flew over the fort during the fateful bombardment of 1814. (National Park Service)
x
An aerial view of Fort McHenry. The 15-star flag shown is current, but it approximates the oversized flag that flew over the fort during the fateful bombardment of 1814. (National Park Service)
An aerial view of Fort McHenry. The 15-star flag shown is current, but it approximates the oversized flag that flew over the fort during the fateful bombardment of 1814. (National Park Service)

Thwarted and out of ammunition, the British sailed away and Key’s verses became the words to the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

As for the largest battle flag ever flown at the time, which Fort McHenry’s commandant, Lt. Col. George Armistead, had ordered raised as a defiant symbol of resistance: It survived, shot full of holes. 

Col. Armistead kept it and allowed several pieces, including one of its 15 stars, to be snipped off and given away as souvenirs. 
A soldier guards the original Fort McHenry. Note his size and that of the flag. (Wikipedia Commons)A soldier guards the original Fort McHenry. Note his size and that of the flag. (Wikipedia Commons)
x
A soldier guards the original Fort McHenry. Note his size and that of the flag. (Wikipedia Commons)
A soldier guards the original Fort McHenry. Note his size and that of the flag. (Wikipedia Commons)

In 1912, what was left of the flag was presented to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. After many restorations, it is front and center at the National Museum of American History.

And on Flag Day, June 14, this year, three red threads from the historic Fort McHenry flag were sewn into the “National 9/11” flag, a tattered remnant of an even more terrible attack on the United States by terrorists, who brought down the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.  

That 9/11 flag is currently on tour and will end up on display in the Sept. 11 Memorial that is being built at Ground Zero where the towers once stood.

The threads came from seven small patches of the original Fort McHenry flag that are held by the Star-Spangled Banner House Museum in Baltimore.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: TruConserv from: AZ
September 18, 2012 3:21 PM
JD - chill out. This isn't a story about the War of 1812, it's about a flag. The sole line in the story about the war itself is factually correct, it is sometimes called the Second War of Independence.

Next time, give some time to reading comprehension before whining about how a story is the story YOU wanted.


by: JD from: AL
September 10, 2012 12:02 PM
You obviously haven't done your research as to what the "War of 1812" really was, how badly Canada whooped us, or about how it allowed the Rothschild's to put us further in debt to Britain by established a loaned over "federal" bank that taxed and enslaved the American people to the Britains and continues to affect us in Common Trade Laws today. Do us all a favor, get a different day job, or at least start doing some "research" before you post oblivious BS.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid