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Star-Spangled Banner, National Anthem, War of 1812, for Kids and Teachers Illustration

The Star-Spangled Banner for Kids and Teachers

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For Kids

Who was Francis Scott Key? For one thing, he was the author of the Star Spangled Banner, which became our national anthem.

Francis Scott Key was born into a wealthy family in Maryland. He became a well respected attorney. He had a home in Georgetown, Maryland (before Georgetown became part of Washington D.C.) He was happily married. He had a bunch of kids. He was very well liked. He was a believer in peace. But he was also a loyal American. So he did participate in the War of 1812. As a civilian, he successfully negotiated the release of American civilians who were British prisoners. John Skinner was the U.S. government agent who worked to release American civilians captured by the British. These two men worked together to secure the release of a Maryland doctor arrested by some British soldiers. The doctor was being held on a British ship outside Fort McHenry near Baltimore, Maryland.

Key and Skinner were successful. But they were not allowed to leave the British ship right away. The British were concerned they might have overheard the British plan to attack Fort McHenry that night. So, both Key and Skinner became eye witnesses to the bombing of Fort McHenry while on a British ship, although they were not prisoners of war. The men were released after the battle.

This is a short story of what Francis Scott Key saw and what he did: YouTube - The Movie at the Visitor's Center, Fort McHenry

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