As two years of commemorations get underway this summer throughout the Washington region, Prince Georgians are striving to let the world know that their community was the scene of several pivotal events in the conflict, which was sparked partly by the British navy pressing unwilling U.S. sailors into service.
Without Prince George’s, local history buffs like to say, there would be no “Star-Spangled Banner.”
That’s because among the wartime events in Prince George’s was one that eventually led William Beanes, an Upper Marlboro doctor, and Francis Scott Key, a Georgetown lawyer, to end up in Baltimore detained by the British. There they witnessed the battle that delivered victory to the Americans and that became a turning point in the war. They saw the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air” that Key memorialized in the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which would later become the lyrics of the fledgling nation’s anthem.
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