Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh Say Can You See...

I had the privilege of visiting Fort McHenry this summer while attending CAST (Chaplain Annual Sustainment Training). Probably one of the coolest places I have visited. Fort McHenry was the site of the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. Starting out in the visitors center we watched a video explaining how the battle played out over that night. From a ship in the harbor Francis Scott Key watched as the Americans took a pounding from the British ships. The next morning Key strained to see if the British had taken Fort McHenry. In the early light of dawn, Key saw the American flag still waving. At that point in the video our national anthem began to play. All Soldiers snapped to attention. All civilians there rose to their feet. The video screen raised slowly to reveal Fort McHenry through the large windows with our nations flag flying proudly above. Cold chills overtook my body as I remembered the perseverance of those Soldiers that night. As the song ended and people walked away you could see tears in some peoples eyes. A strong reminder of how great this nation still is.

The last picture is from the flag room at Fort McHenry. This is the room that actually housed the flag when it was not being flown. This room had a large table that the Soldiers could partially lay the flag out on to prepare it. The flag flying over the fort the morning Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner was 30 feet X 42 feet. The stars on that flag were approximately two feet tall. I would imagine it was a task within itself just to raise a flag of that size.