Francis Scott Key

by Jonathan from Wallingford

A hero is a person acomplished a great act without doing it for self gain or even intentionally.
Francis Key (
Francis Key (

A hero is a person that has accomplished a great act without doing it for self-gain or even unintentionally. Many people are considered as a hero such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Clara Barton but not all are heroes. This person certainly is a hero because of his accomplishments that have affected Americans for hundreds of years. My hero is Francis Scott Key.

Francis Scott Key is famously known for his poem "The Star Spangled Banner" which originally was named "The Defense of Fort McHenry." This famous song was written during the War of 1812 during the battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland while he was aboard a British ship, the HMS Tonnant. This happened during the night between September 13 and 14, 1814.

Defense of Fort McHenry (<br>Fort_McHenry)
Defense of Fort McHenry (

The phrases that he used in his poem describe what he observed during the battle. An example is "the rocket's red glare" which describes the lights that came from the rockets that the British fired. Also "gave proof through the night that our flag was still there" is very famous because it showed that after all the bombardment on Fort McHenry, the American flag still waved high over the defended fort. Some might think that "The Star Spangled Banner" is just a song but it has much meaning.

Francis Scott Key is a hero because he wrote a poem that has been used for hundreds of years. This one poem, that was written just to tell his experience during the defense of Fort McHenry, has become so famous that all most every American knows it by heart. He had no clue that his poem would become the American National Anthem. He originally had it published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814 but then it became our National Anthem in 1916.

Francis Scott Key Monument (<br>23748404@N00/32165608/)
Francis Scott Key Monument (

After writing his poem he became a district attorney of Washington D.C. and had a great legal career. He is known for defending Sam Houston in 1832 because Houston violated the Indian Removal Act. Unfortunately Key lost the case but he held a successful legal career.


Key was a poet and wrote many poems. Fourteen years after his death in 1843, some of his poems were found and published. Out of all his poems there is only one that will certainly live forever. His poem "The Defense of Fort McHenry" or as we know it "The Star Spangled Banner" will be sung as our National Anthem for a long time.


His contribution kept the fight between the British and Americans defending Fort McHenry, a big part of American history, remembered. It is very patriotic and is a major part of the beginning of the United States of America. This famous battle will be remembered for many years all because one man wrote a poem while watching the fight. Francis Scott Key is definitely a 19th century American Hero.

Page created on 7/11/2008 11:19:09 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 7:35:02 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Wikipedia - Info on Fort Mchenry
Wikipedia - Info on Francis Scott Key
National Park Service - More info on Francis Scott Key
Wikipedia - Info on Sam Houston Trial
Smithsonian History - Francis Scott Key