Francis Scott Key and the Star-Spangled Banner

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Published on: September 10, 2014

Hi kids! My name is Samuel Judah and I am 10 years old. Today, we are going to talk about Francis Scott Key and the Star-Spangled Banner. We are going to learn about how the “Star-Spangled Banner” was born. Actually, because of one man’s arrest, one of our nation’s greatest songs was brought forth, and that was the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

One day, a man named Dr. William Beanes was enjoying himself in his garden, when suddenly 2 British soldiers came into his house. Dr. Beanes, still a little nervous, treated them very kindly, but thankfully they left. Dr. Beanes, relieved, was happy they were gone. However, the soldiers were not gone for good.

Not long after they left, 7 British soldiers broke into his garden demanding for some of his drink. Outraged by what the soldiers had done, Dr. Beanes started yelling for help from the townspeople. Finally, when some people arrived, they caught 6 British soldiers, but one escaped and told the other men what had happened. The British were so mad, that they went to Beanes’ house again to arrest him.

By dawn, Dr. Beanes awoke to the sound of British soldiers hammering on his door! Finally, they broke in and told him he was being arrested for telling people to arrest British troops. Dr. Beanes, not even fully dressed, was taken so fast that he did not even have enough time to grab his glasses. The British soldiers took Dr. Beanes to a ship where they held him captive.

When Dr. Beanes’ friends heard about his arrest, they asked for help from a lawyer named Francis Scott Key. Since Key knew Beanes, he asked for permission to help his friend from the president (James Madison) of the United States. When Madison gave him permission, Key took one of his friends to help him rescue Dr. Beanes.

Francis Scott Key and his friend went to the British ship where Beanes was being held captive carrying a flag of truce, and because of this, the captain let the two men aboard the ship. When Key and Col. John Skinner (Key’s friend) talked to the commanders, they decided to let Beanes go.

However, the commander told the 3 men that they could only go when the battle of Fort McHenry was over. During the battle, there were so many rockets that glowed in the sky, that every time a rocket or bomb blew in the air, the men could see that the American flag had not fallen and was still there. Anxiously, the men waited and waited to see who would win the battle.

The next morning, after the battle, by the dawns early light, they could see a brand new American flag flying in the breeze. Key was joyful at this sight! Words started flashing through his mind that eventually became what is now called the “Star-Spangled Banner.” He pulled out notes and quickly wrote down the first quarter of the National Anthem. Did you know that the “Star-Spangled Banner” was originally a poem before it became a song? Pretty cool, huh?

Hey kids, what do you think of that? I am glad you and me learned about the National Anthem because the next time we hear the National Anthem, we will know how it was born and the story behind it. Thank you so much for learning about Francis Scott Key and the Star-Spangled Banner with me!

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