Did you know that Canada played a role in the birth of the national anthem of the United States and its national motto? They both date from the War of 1812.
The anthem was derived from a poem by Francis Scott Key, The Defence of Fort McHenry, about the bombardment of the fort by the British Royal Navy in Chesapeake Bay. We’re pretty familiar with the first verse, but there were four–which can be heard in a Youtube video, unfamiliar verses first. The words “In God We Trust” are in the fourth stanza, adopted as the national motto in 1956.
- The Fort McHenry garrison flag, the original star spangled banner, has been preserved as a United States national treasure at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Out of the war also came two of American history’s most memorable patriotic quotations. “Don’t give up the ship” was the dying command of James Lawrence, captain of the USS Chesapeake, before the ship was boarded by Captain Philip Broke of the HMS Shannon.
The other phrase which has come down through history is “We have met the enemy, and they are ours,” words of Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the U.S. fleet in a dispatch Sept. 10, 1813 after defeating the British in the Battle of Lake Erie.