Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment of the British on Fort McHenry from the British ship off the coast of Maryland. Key, a Washington attorney, dined aboard the British ship on a mission to negotiate the release of British prisoners during the War of 1812. When dawn broke on that September morning of 1814, Key saw the majestic flag still hoisted high above the Fort signifying the American victory. Francis captured the poignancy of the moment in what would become our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
I had the privilege of gazing upon this famous Star-Spangled Banner on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History earlier this year. The majestic moment is forever embedded in my mind. Standing a mere six feet away from the famous fifteen star studded historic flag with the words of The Star-Spangled Banner suspended above the massive red, white, and blue drew every ounce of my patriotism to the surface. I’m still reflecting upon that extraordinary moment.
It was an excellent conclusion to a weekend spent gathering with leaders to seek the reformation of our nation to its historic heritage as a sweet land of liberty.