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National Anthem Program Notes and sheet music

The year is 1814, and the War of 1812 is raging. The British have sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and are bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, is on a ship in the harbor, trying to negotiate the release of prisoners of war.

As Key watches the bombardment, he is filled with fear and uncertainty. But then, in the early hours of the morning, he sees a sight that fills him with hope: the American flag, still flying proudly over the fort.

Key is so inspired by this sight that he writes a poem, which he later sets to the tune of a popular English drinking song. The poem, "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," eventually becomes the national anthem of the United States, known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The poem's lyrics capture the spirit of American patriotism and resilience. They speak of the flag as a symbol of hope and freedom, and they express the determination of the American people to never give up, no matter how difficult the odds.

The Star-Spangled Banner has become a beloved national treasure, and its lyrics are still recited with pride by Americans today. It is a reminder of the sacrifices that have been made to protect our country, and it is a source of inspiration for all who believe in the American dream.

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