Many homeschoolers this week will be looking for ways to remember and teach about the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. One simple thing to do is to show how other people marked the event soon after it occurred, and so give your students a sense of how it was experienced at the time.
One of the most moving memorials that took place shortly after the attacks was the singing of the U.S. National Anthem by the congregation of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London at a special commemoration held on September 14th. St. Paul’s is one of the world’s most famous churches, designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666 that destroyed much of the city. It survived the London bombings during World War II and has played an important role in the life of the British people for more than three centuries.
The words of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key on that same day, September 14th, during another attack on the United States: the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during what we now call the War of 1812 (which lasted more than two years). You’ll find a history of the anthem on page 484 of your homeschool almanac (riverhouses.org/books) and on the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, which is today the home of the Star-Spangled Banner itself — the actual flag that Francis Scott Key saw flying over Fort McHenry in 1814.
The Star-Spangled Banner
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Yes, Mr. Key — it does.
What historical anniversaries will you be marking in your homeschool this month?
❡ Explore more: The complete hour-long memorial service from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on September 14th, 2001, is available from C-SPAN online.
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