On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Today, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1914 is housed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. Find the flag still here at the library.
Roald Dahl, British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot, was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales on September 13, 1916. Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence officer, rising to the rank of acting wing commander. He rose to prominence in the 1940’s with works for both children and adults and became one of the world’s best-selling authors.He has been referred to as “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”. Dahl’s short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children’s books for their unsentimental, often very dark humor. His works for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, George’s Marvelous Medicine, and The Twits. Adult works include Tales of the Unexpected and My Uncle Oswald. Find a giant peach in the library.