Friday, May 4, 2012

K is for... Key

Francis Scott Key was a lawyer who wrote poetry as a hobby, and might have been just an obscure figure in American history, except that one of the poems he wrote became the national anthem.  Key was opposed to the War of 1812, but did join the volunteer militia.  In 1814, he learned that his friend Dr. Beanes had been captured by the British, and went with Colonel Skinner to negotiate his release.  The negotiation was successful, but while on the British ship, the attack on Fort McHenry at Baltimore began, and all three men were held as prisoners during the battle.  It was then that Key began writing the poem that he called "Defence of Fort McHenry".  Later that year a Baltimore actor performed the song (the tune was originally "To Anacreon in Heaven") and called it "The Star-Spangled Banner".  That name stuck, and in 1931 it was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution.  (You can find more information at the following websites: or National Park Service.)

We happen to live near Terra Rubra, where Francis Scott Key was born.  The house is privately owned but does have a monument in front of it.

There are reminders of Francis Scott Key's legacy everywhere in this area.  There is the Francis Scott Key Highway, the Francis Scott Key High School, the FSK Mall, the Key Diner, and two little communities called Keysville and Keymar.  There are several monuments, and there are two bridges named in his honor.  Two universities have halls named for him, and there are several elementary and middle schools named for him as well.  My daughter plays softball at a field named for Terra Rubra, and the Baltimore Orioles affiliate baseball team is the Frederick Keys.

On Sunday, we attended a Frederick Keys baseball game and had great seats.  This close:

K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

 Do you recognize this batter?
K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Perhaps if you could see his name better...
K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Mike Flacco - Joe Flacco's brother.  (Joe Flacco is the Baltimore Ravens quarterback, and the only reason I know that is because I do have a number of friends who are football fans.  I do not follow the NFL at all.)

The Frederick Keys have a program called "Keys for Reading" that allows school children and teachers to earn free tickets to one of the special promotional game days, and that's how we got our tickets.  We attend Keys games at other times as well and always have a good time.  It was at a Keys game last summer that Kennady made her spectacular catch of a foul ball.

K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

We've also taken a field trip to Fort McHenry, and hope to go again sometime.

K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

K is for Key (Francis Scott Key - a little history lesson) on Homeschool Coffee Break @

I have to wonder if we would know (or care!) nearly as much about Francis Scott Key if we didn't live so close to where it all happened.  I wonder the same about some of the events of the Revolution and the Civil War.  It's fascinating to be so near to the locations that figure prominently in the nation's founding and history, and have the ability to see these pieces of the past rather than just read about them in a textbook.  (I'll be sharing more about some of these places soon - I'll be posting "5 Days of Living History" as part of the TOS Crew's 5 Days Blog Hop from May 14th through May 18th!)

What interesting historical events took place near your home?  Leave a comment and let me know!


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Unknown said...

Wouldn't you love to live in that house! I can't believe it's privately owned, and not a museum!

Love the history lesson. Now I want to go there!

Looking forward to your 5 Days . . . series!

Kirsten @ homeschool discoveries said...

I didn't know that the Star Spangled Banner wasn't made the National Anthem until 1931! I have always loved history, and I love continuing to learn about it now as a homeschooling parent!

Nicole said...

My husband and I spent a day in Baltimore a couple of years ago and visited Ft. McHenry. When we watched the video and then listened to the Navy Choir sing the National Anthem while the curtain opened to our write displaying the huge flag, my husband and I were both crying. It was such a moving moment!!! I wished my kids could have been there to see it.

Nicole said...

to our "right", I mean ... geez.

kewkew said...

Cool! I love learning more about American History and more details about historical figures. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to attend the games as well. I'm sure your daughter was excited to catch the foul ball.
The problem with living in our little rural area here is there isn't a lot of history. We would love to go to Philadelphia, but even though we live in Pa, it is still a 5 hour trip for us.
Thank you for sharing on Throwback Thursday Blog-Style. I can't wait to see what you share this week.

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