The Washington Post tells the story of Francis Scott Key's famous composition.
Through the morning mist, the Americans finally could make out a flag, towering over the grassy knoll of the ramparts. But the banner hung limply from the flagpole, and it was impossible to tell if it was American or British.
A slight breeze blew fitfully from the northeast, scattering the mist. The flag stirred with a tantalizing hint, but Key and Skinner remained unsure. Finally a beam of sun illuminated the flag, revealing it to be American.
While some people have struggled with the anthem, Key and his friends knew it well.