Our Song is 200 Years Old

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Greg G. Knott

There is nothing more moving than the playing of our National Anthem - The Star-Spangled Banner.  This song was written on September 14, 1814 by Brother Francis Scott Key.  Key was a member of Concordia Lodge No. 13 in Maryland.
Photo courtesy of The Smithsonian Institute

The United States was at war with Great Britain in the War of 1812.   The British had attacked Fort McHenry during the night and when daylight broke, Brother Key saw the large American flag still flying over Ft. McHenry that inspired him to pen the famous words in the form of poem.  The poem was later developed into lyrics that were set to a song written by John Stafford Smith of England.  
The flag that inspired these famous words now hangs in the National Museum of American History, a part of the Smithsonian Institute.  The flag was made by Mary Pickersgill (1776-1857) who was contracted to sew two flags for Fort McHenry.  The famous flag was a 30 x 42 foot garrison flag. 
Ft. McHenry (National Park Service)
I visited Ft. McHenry a few years back and it was awe inspiring to see the spot where this flag flew.  A replica of the flag still waves there today.
On March 3, 1931 President Herbert Hoover signed a law making the “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the national of the United States of America.
Of course we as Masons hold a special place for the flag in our lodges.  Every proper lodge meeting begins with reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance to flag of our country.   The next time you say this pledge think of Francis Scott Key seeing this magnificent symbol flying in the distance, representing that our country and more importantly our freedoms were still intact.  
Our song is 200 years old and may it inspire future generations for at least 200 years or more.

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.  He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana.  He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society.  Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. 

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