Program for the celebration of the 100th anniverary of the Star Spangled Banner, 1914 (courtesy Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. The image above shows the cover from the program for the celebration marking the centennial of the battle at Fort McHenry and the writing of The Star Spangled Banner, a copy of which can be found in our library collection.
We consulted with Loras Schissel, of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, concerning the history of The Star Spangled Banner and of To Anacreon in Heaven, the tune on which The Star Spangled Banner is based. According to Schissel, The Star Spangled Banner, as sung, is the only national anthem that ends in a question mark. It’s not a drinking song, but was written as a “club” song for the Anacreontics and was writen to show off the good voice and range of one of the singers.
In 1931 President Herbert Hoover signed legislation which made the Star Spangled Banner the United States’ official national anthem. When Irving Berlin was asked if he thought God Bless America should be national anthem, he said, “we already have one … and it’s a darn good one.”
Learn more about the history of the Star Spangled Banner in this website from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Elizabeth Ann Seton altar prior to the transfer of Mother Seton’s relics in 1968 (Images used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
For Throwback Thursday and the anniversary of Elizabeth Seton’s canonization coming up this weekend, here is a view of the Seton Altar in what is now the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton before Mother Seton’s remains were formally transferred there in 1968. Look closely and you’ll see the words “Blessed Elizabeth Ann Seton” above the statue. Mother Seton was canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.
Elizabeth Ann Seton’s remains have resided in a number of different locations on the Emmitsburg Campus since her death. When she died in 1821 she was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, the original cemetery on our grounds. A headstone marking her original burial spot can still be seen today. In 1845 the Mortuary Chapel, located in St. Joseph’s Cemetery adjacent to Mother Seton’s first burial spot, was built to house her remains; her remains were transferred to the Mortuary Chapel in 1846. The Mortuary Chapel still stands as well. After her beatification in 1963 Mother Seton’s remains were placed in a copper casket and transferred to a niche above the main altar in the chapel at St. Joseph’s Central House. The chapel, located just south of our current campus, is now part of FEMA’s National Emergency Training Center. In 1968 her remains moved for the final time to the Sisters’ Chapel at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, now the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Basilica is open to the public and can be viewed from 10:00am – 4:30pm every day.
Today is the Feast of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Learn more about Ozanam’s life and work from some of our previous blog posts.
The FAMVIN website contains an informative slide show comparing the lives of Ozanam and Vincent de Paul.