With piano accompaniment from Dale Sherrod, the club sang all the official songs of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard), along with recognizing those club members with military service or family of a veteran.  Our guest speaker, Mr Dick Kounovsky, from Legion Post 32 was introduced.  Dick shared with us the history of the Star Spangled Banner flag. 

The Star-Spangled Banner's history starts not with Francis Scott Key, but a year earlier with Maj. George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry. Knowing that his fort was a likely British target, Armistead told the commander of Baltimore defenses in July 1813 that he needed a flag—a big one. This flag was 30 feet tall and 42 feet long on a flag pole 90 feet high.  He wanted the British to see the flag way out at sea.

On September 13, 1814 British warships sent a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American fort for 25 hours.  

(A week earlier, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to release a friend who had recently been arrested. Key was forced to remain on the British vessel during the attack). 

 Key would write about the sky erupting with red glare across the night sky. Cannon fire attempted to travel 2 miles, often bursting in air before reaching the fort. As the hours passed and the smoke was clearing, the dawn's early light on that fateful morning saw victory, giving proof that the US flag was still there. 

In 1931 Congress declared the Star Spangled Banner the national anthem.  The flag is now on display at the Smithsonian.  Dick offered these closing words, “When you go to the Smithsonian and stand before this flag,  know what a privilege it is to witness a piece of American history and understand its significance in your life today. God Bless the United States”.