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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid