A New Anthem

Francis Scott Key

Reading Comprehension for March 3

Do you know what an anthem is? It is a song that praises something and declares loyalty to that something. What are some things that people write anthems for? Maybe they write songs for their families, their schools, or even their country.

There are many songs written about the United States. All of them are anthems, but only one is the official national anthem. That one is "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"The Star-Spangled Banner" did not start out as a song. It started out as a poem. The man who wrote it was Francis Scott Key.

Key was a young lawyer who loved his family and his country. He lived near Baltimore, Maryland. During the War of 1812, British soldiers arrested Dr. Beanes and took him back to their ship.

Key was afraid the British soldiers would hang the doctor. Key asked Col. John Skinner to help get the doctor back. Then they went to see the British admiral.

Key and Skinner went out to the ship. They carried a white flag of truce to go and talk to the British admiral. The two men brought letters with them. The letters told the admiral that the doctor had helped many British soldiers. They wanted the good doctor's life to be spared.

The admiral listened to them and agreed. They would have to wait, though, because the men had heard the attack plans. Key, Skinner, and Beanes were moved to a small ship where they would be out of the way.

On September 13, 1814, the British attacked Fort McHenry. They started shooting at the fort. In the evening it stopped. Then in the night, they started firing again. Cannons boomed, and rockets flew through the air. The three men were very concerned.

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