Star spangled banner-on aug. 24, 1814, the british army had invaded washington, d.c. the capitol building and the white house were burned, and the brits turned to nearby baltimore, firing on the harbors fort mchenry on sept. 13. it was in the midst of that battle that francis scott key, who had been negotiating for the release of a prisoner of war, was at sea. at dawn on sept. 14, the american flag still flew over the fort; the british were in retreat. keys poem about what he saw, which he set to an earlier tune by john stafford smith, came to be known as the star-spangled banner.
on mar. 3, 1931, president hoover signed the bill into law, and the u.s. had an anthem for the first time.