The American Flag that started it all | In celebration, we fly Old Glory
Stars and Stripes forever
We fly the American flag on National Holidays, including Independence Day. It’s not too often, however, that we stop to think about the flag that started it all, the flag that Francis Scott Key saw “so gallantly streaming”, the Star-Spangled Banner.
The Star-Spangled Banner, otherwise known as the Great Garrison Flag, was sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill, her daughter, two nieces, and African American indentured servant over the summer of 1913.
Pickersgill created the flag using white cotton for the stars, undyed wool for the white stripes and blue and red dyed wool for the canton and red stripes. These specific colors and design set a precedent for today’s American Flag.
Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead, commander of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, commissioned the flag to be 30 feet tall and 42 feet wide. Armistead wanted a flag “so large that the British could not fail to see her”. And see her they did. 90-feet above the ground, the grand flag was flown during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, in which the British Navy attempted and failed to overcome American Forces.
As the well-known story goes, American lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key was being held on a British truce ship as the sun rose the morning after the battle. In awe, he witnessed the flag, in-tact, in all of its grandiose glory, proudly waving over Fort McHenry as a beacon of young America’s resilience and courage. That magnificent site brought forth his poem, "Defence of Fort M'Henry", which was later set to a popular tune and retitled “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Amazingly, after everything the flag had endured over the past 100 years, it was still intact and in relatively good condition. Over 100 years later, the flag has gone through multiple restorations and seen several different placements within the museum.
Today, she has been fully revitalized and rests safely in public view as an eternal reminder of the strength, sacrifice, and glory that has brought us to where we are today as the Great Nation of the United States of America.
[video] Star-Spangled salute - in this video by the Smithsonian Institution, re-enactors relive the Battle of Baltimore and celebrate the flag that inspired our national anthem
After years of painstaking work, the original flag that inspired our national anthem is back on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Star Spangled Banner historic replica flags available at LIBERTY FLAGS
The American flag flies bold, high, and true. In trust, pride, and celebration, we fly the Red, White, and Blue.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Half-staff notifications. Promotions. New products. Helpful content. Directly to your inbox.