When most people hear the phrase “The Star-Spangled Banner,” they envision our country’s national anthem. It was a short poem written by lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1812. The Star-Spangled Banner, however, is also a flag. Even if you’re familiar with the American flag, you might be unfamiliar with the Star-Spangled Banner flag.
Overview of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag
The Star-Spangled Banner flag is an early version of the American flag that was flown over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. In the days leading up to the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Major George Armistead placed an order for two American flags. He then selected the larger of the two flags to display over Fort McHenry while it was under attack by British forces. This flag would later become known as the Star-Spangled Banner flag.
Why is it called the “Star-Spangled Banner flag” exactly? The Star-Spangled Banner poem was written by Key. While sitting aboard a British ship as a prisoner, Key observed the American flag flying gracefully over Fort McHenry. This prompted him to write the Star-Spangled Banner poem. The American flag that served as the inspiration for this poem was the Star-Spangled Banner flag.
The Design of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag
As depicted in the photo above, the Star-Spangled Banner flag features 15 horizontal stripes in alternating red and white colors and 15 stars.
The Star-Spangled Banner flag is larger than many other American flags. It measures approximately 30 feet by 42 inches. Major George Armistead, of course, wanted a large flag that would be visible to the invading British forces. This prompted Major George Armistead to order two oversized American flags. Of those two flags, the larger version was selected and used as the Star-Spangled Banner flag over Fort McHenry.
Where Is the Star-Spangled Banner Flag Today?
You can find the Star-Spangled Banner Flag on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. It’s considered to be one of the museum’s most significant pieces.
The National Museum of American History originally received the Star-Spangled Banner flag at the beginning of the 20th century. Eben Appleton loaned it to the National Museum of American History in 1907. Just a few years, Appleton donated the Star-Spangled Banner flag to the National Museum of American History.
The Star-Spangled Banner flag is a historical, early version of the American flag. It was displayed over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 where it served as the inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner poem.