When the British retreated from Washington during the war of 1812 they took prisoner a Dr William Beanes and held him aboard a warship in Chesapeake Bay. Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, obtained permission to intercede for the release of his friend as the British fleet was preparing to bombard Fort McHenry, which protected Baltimore. The British agreed to release Beanes but held both Americans until the battle ended. So from the midst of the enemy, Key watched the British shelling his countrymen. The captives knew Fort McHenry had little defence, but as the smoke and haze of battle cleared they saw the American flag still flying. Key wrote down the words of a poem, ‘The Star-spangled Banner’. Set to music it became the national anthem of the United States in 1931.
‘…the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.’