The Star-Spangled Banner


Just 18 years after President George Washington wrote his “Farewell Address,” the United States found itself at war once again. In September 1814, a British fleet under Sir Alexander Cochrane began bombarding Fort McHenry, outside Baltimore, Md.

The fleet would later sail up the Potomac River, attack the new capital at Washington, D.C., and even burn the White House, before the U.S. ultimately triumphed.

Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, had approached the British attackers of Fort McHenry to seek the release of a friend they had imprisoned.  Instead of winning his friend’s freedom, Key found himself imprisoned overnight, with a front-row seat for the nocturnal bombardment.

As the sun rose on Sept. 14, 1814, Key was amazed to see the American flag still flying over the battered fort.  He wrote The Star-Spangled Banner to describe what he saw.  More than 100 years later, in 1931, Key’s poem became our National Anthem.  A lot of folks still have trouble singing it — or remembering the words to it.

— Chip Wood

Personal Liberty

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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