Source: Rob Lovitt, NBC News contributor
In the annals of American history, certain dates – the Fourth of July, Dec. 7 and the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and George Washington (Feb. 22) — stand out.
Sept. 14? Not so much, although the events of that day are unknowingly commemorated by millions of Americans at thousands of gatherings throughout the year. It was on that day, 198 years ago, that Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would eventually become “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
As the oft-told story goes, Key was inspired to write it during the War of 1812 after watching the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry on Sept. 13, 1814. After 25 hours marked by “rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air,” he awoke in the “dawn’s early light” of Sept. 14 to see that “our flag was still there.”
The battle turned the tide of the war and essentially served notice that, 30 years after the Revolutionary War, America was here to stay. “If it wasn’t for that battle, we would not be the United States we are today,” said Annelise Montone, executive director at Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, where the original flag was sewn.
On the other hand, if it weren’t for that battle, our national anthem might be something the average American could actually sing, such as “America the Beautiful” or “God Bless America.” But since that’s not the case, here are five places where you can proudly hail those “broad stripes and bright stars:” Complete article and list of National Anthem attractions