There are countless reasons to enjoy this sun-soaked summer month. One of our favorites is celebrating the Fourth of July. As we prepare to ring in our country’s 243rd birthday, let’s take the opportunity to learn more about our most iconic song: the national anthem. This much-beloved tune has its roots firmly planted in our national history – and in the experience of one American, Francis Scott Key.
Key, an attorney, was attempting to negotiate the release of an imprisoned doctor when he sailed from Baltimore into Chesapeake Bay to meet the British in September 1814. Detained overnight, he and the doctor watched, horrified, as 1,800 rockets and bombs rained down on Fort McHenry. The British had moved on the city. Although defeat seemed imminent – fated, even – when dawn finally broke after the long night, Key saw a sight we all know well: the American flag, standing tall and persevering.
Awestruck, Key scribbled down a poem whose words would become “The Star-Spangled Banner.” His writing found its way into a Baltimore newspaper that same month. The song, ironically set to the melody of a British tune, later became popular with the armed forces, and was formally adopted as the American national anthem in 1931. While some have since promoted the idea of replacing Key’s song with other patriotic favorites like “America the Beautiful,” written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, and “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin in 1918, our national anthem has maintained its distinguished status for nearly a century.
This Independence Day, we hope you get to celebrate our nation’s hard-won freedoms, surrounded by those you love, singing an anthem for the ages. We know we’ll be celebrating, too.
Please note that our offices, along with the financial markets, will be closed Thursday, July 4th for the Independence Day holiday. Of course, you can access your account(s) using Sweet Financial Services Wealth Management System or Raymond James Client Access at any time, year-round.
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