The U.S. celebrates the 200th anniversary of its national anthem with a massive fireworks display in Baltimore, Maryland. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Americans celebrated the 200th anniversary of the writing of their national anthem on Saturday (September 13) with a weekend-long series of concerts, historical reenactments and the largest fireworks display in the history of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Francis Scott Key penned the song, initially called "The Defense of Fort McHenry", on the morning of September 14, 1814, during the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. It was the last military confrontation between the young nation and its former colonial master. Key had gone to the ship to negotiate the release of American prisoners and was forced to watch the British bombardment of Baltimore from the ship. When the dawn broke and he saw the U.S. flag still flying over the city, he knew British forces had not conquered it and he was moved to write the song. It wasn't adopted as the country's national anthem until a presidential order was issued in 1916. The flag that inspired Key to write the song now hangs in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.