BALTIMORE (WJZ) — CBS stations across the country, including right here at WJZ, have decided to start the day by playing the National Anthem.

Signs that the Star-Spangled Banner was written here in Baltimore are all over. In some cases, you don’t have to look hard to find them.

“It’s a sign of unity,” one resident told WJZ.

The National Anthem was originally a poem by Francis Scott Key titled The Defense of Fort McHenry after he witnessed the British Navy bombarded the fort for 25 hours on Sept. 14, 1814.

“When he finally sees that large, 15-star, 15-stripped Star-Spangled Banner, he realized the defenders inside the fort did what they came here to do, and that defended their city and defend their country,” Fort McHenry Park Ranger Amanda Zimmermann said.

The poem spread like wildfire. In a time without internet and phones, it reached as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Georgia in less than a month.

“For a lack of a better term, this poem goes viral throughout the country,” Zimmermann said.

It would eventually be set to song and renamed the Star-Spangled Banner.

Without Fort McHenry, there is no Star-Spangled Banner, and the National Anthem would be completely different.

“Time, place and context are everything,” Zimmermann said. “There could have been another battle or event, but you wouldn’t have Francis Scott Key’s words.”

Today the National Anthem is sung at ceremonies and sporting events across the country.

Listen to the national anthem every morning at 4:30 a.m. on WJZ.

Sean Streicher

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