It begins with the famous line... "O say can you see by the dawn's early light..." Each of its 4 stanza's end with the emotional, and powerful ... "O'r the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Words as important today as when penned in 1814. Probably as important as "Four score and seven years ago."
The multi talented poet was Francis Scott Key who made his living as lawyer, and in fact District Attorney for New York. It was during the War of 1812 that he sought and received permission from the President to sail off to Fort McHenry, Baltimore to exchange some prisoners of war.
Under a flag of truce Francis Key sailed into about 15 or 20 Royal Navy ships about to begin a 25 hr bombardment of the American Fort. Taken onboard, he would overhear conversations about attacking strategies to be followed, Thus the Brits held him overnight to prevent their plans being revealed.
The poem he wrote was about the bombardment and anxious awaiting the clearing of the air the following morning to see what flag... Brit or Yank, would be flying " O'r the land of the free and the home of the brave."
The choice of Key's penned "land of the free," no doubt spoke of the concept of being free from the British. But as a pro slaver and owner of same, his choice of words ought to raise a few eyebrows.
Key's flag of truce, of sorts could be said to be in the family jeans. Perhaps literally.. hehe
Back in Washington Francis Key's son liked women. Many of them. Some married, some not so. And one of them had the same passions in life. As did her 39 year old husband Daniel who was known for also liking many women, married of not, and prostitute or not.
As time went on, Key's son Phillip and Daniel's 22 yr old wife Teresa became less and less secretive about their affair. Some have it that he carried a pole with a handkerchief on it and waved it about from a little distance away from DC's Lafayette Square where the wife would eventually see it and make her way to meet and greet.
Others say the last straw was him simply walking past Teresa's window and waving his hancky so that they could have their pancky. Trouble however was that it would be Danial and not the wife who saw it. Couple this with the fact that he had by then received a poison pen letter from a third party telling him about the affair. So he grabbed his guns, went outside and shot Phillip Key several times killing him in Lafayette square right across the road from the White House.
It would be the first time in US criminal history that the defense would be successfully argued. Two years later Stanton would serve his country in the Civil War as the country's Secretary of War, and has been often mentioned in this space.
In that same war Daniel would become a Brig General and then Major General, and it is in that capacity that the story that might not be a story is next due up. But it is too late today, so it comes to you next Sunday,
cheers till then,