In September of 1814, the United States was a relatively young country engaged in a war with the most powerful nation of the time, Great Britain. A British fleet launched a devastating overnight bombardment of the American fort that defended Baltimore harbor. As the sun rose the next morning, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key who had observed the battle saw that the American flag was still flying. Inspired, he wrote a poem that would later be set to music as "The Star-Spangled Banner"—our national anthem. Today, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is often performed before sporting events and other public functions. The national anthem is an important patriotic symbol because it reminds us about a critical moment in American history, and how our flag—which represents American democracy and values—has continued to fly proudly despite all attacks and outside pressures.
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