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More About Fort McHenry: Citadel of Freedom

Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, by reason of its contribution to American History, is important among the shrines and monuments of our country. It was the successful defense of this fort against a 25-hour British bombardment in September of 1814 that inspired a young American patriot, Francis Scott Key, to write the words which were eventually adopted as our national anthem.

It is estimated that over 1,800 bombs, rockets, and shells were fired at the fort that night while Key watched and waited. By dawn's early light, he saw the stars and stripes of the giant flag still waving over the fort. Had Fort McHenry fallen, the British ships would have rendezvoused with the troops on land. Because Fort McHenry stood fast, the British hopes of capturing Baltimore collapsed, and the British ships retreated.

 Today, in recognition of this, the flag of the United States is flown over the fort 24 hours a day by Presidential proclamation.