Music: Anthem's Anniversary

On the flagpole of Baltimore's Fort McHenry, men in War of 1812 uniforms raised an American flag with 15 stars. Breasting slowly up the Patapsco River came a Coast Guard picket boat, opened fire with its single small forward gun as cannon from the fort returned rounds of blanks. At battle's end the flag on the fort still waved proudly. Thus re-enacted last week on its 125th anniversary was the episode which inspired Lawyer Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

Not wholly pleased by the proceedings was Lawyer Key's lean and leathery...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!