The little-known and inspiring story behind the national anthem and the stars and stripes.
“O say can you see” begins one of the most recognizable songs in the US. Originally a poem by Francis Scott Key, the national anthem tells the story of the American flag rising high above a fort after a night of intense battle during the War of 1812. But there is much more to the story than what is sung at ball games. What was this battle about? Whose bombs were bursting, and why were rockets glaring? Who sewed those broad stripes and bright stars? Why were free Black soldiers fighting on both sides? Who was Francis Scott Key anyway, and how did he end up with such a close view? Star-Spangled tells the whole story from the perspectives of different real players—both American and British—of this obscure but important battle from American history.
Written by Tim Grove