Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Arkansans have a long and proud history of serving our country in uniform. We are a state of patriots. Our nation’s flag serves as a reminder of the sacrifices of our families and friends who’ve ensured that our nation’s flag continues to fly. Old Glory represents our values and fortitude as a country. 

During the War of 1812, our nation’s capital was burned by British troops and after two years of fighting, hope seemed to be lost. The Battle for Fort McHenry in September 1814 would turn favor for Americans and serve as an inspiration for one of our most honored traditions – the national anthem. 

Early in the morning of September 14, 1814, the stars and stripes served as inspiration to our soldiers fighting the British in Baltimore, American citizens seeking a victory and lawyer negotiating the release of American prisoners. 

That lawyer, Francis Scott Key, witnessed from a ship several miles away from Baltimore the attempted siege by the British of Fort McHenry – the fort that protected Baltimore harbor. Key saw our nation’s flag flying proudly over Fort McHenry – a signal that we had won the battle. While aboard his ship and inspired by America’s victory, he wrote the poem, Defence of Fort McHenry, more commonly known as The Star Spangled Banner. 

This week we celebrate the 200th year anniversary of Key’s writing of The Star Spangled Banner, which resonates and invokes national pride among all Americans. We sing his poem before sporting events, at the beginnings of many ceremonies and programs and in celebration. I am proud and thankful for Francis Scott Key’s victorious spirit, which inspired him to write the poem that lives on through the American spirit. 

The flag that inspired Key continues to move us today. It’s on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Learn more about it here.