Saturday, January 22, 2005

Francis Scott Key

Born: August 1, 1779
Died: January 11, 1843

Lawyer, poet who penned the national anthem of the
United States of America. His published works include
"The Power of Literature and Its Connection with
Religion" and the posthumous collection "Poems."

After the British attacked and set fire to both the Capitol
and the White House, a long night of battle ensued. When
daylight came, much to everyone's surprise, the flag was
still there. This led the amateur poet to write on the back
of a letter in his pocket the lines that would become central
to the national anthem. A Baltimore actor sang the new song
in a public performance the next month as "The Star-spangled
Banner" and it became a popular patriotic song. In 1931
Congress enacted legislation that made this the official
national anthem. Key was appointed the United States District
Attorney and appeared many times before the
Supreme Court.