Star-Spangled Banner

xStar Spangled Banner

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., wrote the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by a British Prisoner Exchange Agent, dined aboard a British ship as guests. They were there to negotiate the release of prisoners but were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. Thus, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13-14, 1814.

At dawn, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. Back in Baltimore and inspired, Key wrote a poem about his experience, which was soon published. A music publisher adapted it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular tune Key had already used as a setting for an earlier song.

Though somewhat difficult to sing, the song became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail, Columbia” (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the Mexican-American War and American Civil War.  More than a century after its first publication, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play what became known as the “Service Version”) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.  (from Wikipedia)


9/11 Anniversary

Poster for National day of Remembrance with September 911 memorial

Today is the 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks (also referred to as 9/11), a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group called al-Qaeda on the U. S. on the morning of September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others

Four passenger airliners—all of which departed from airports in northeastern states bound for California—were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda members. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight No. 11 and United Airlines Flight No. 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within an hour and forty-two minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story World Trade Center Tower, with significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines No. 77, was crashed into the Pentagon, headquarters of the U. S. Department of Defense, in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse of the building’s western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight No. 93, initially was steered toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stoneycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. It was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.


The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure caused serious damage to the economy of lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, closing Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 18, 2006, construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened on November 3, 2014. Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, partially pictured above, as well as the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia and the Flight 93 National Memorial in a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The day is also becoming known as Patriot’s Day or Remembrance Day.

(from me and Wikipedia)

Teddy Bear Day

National Teddy Bear Day is always celebrated on September 9th.

Since the creation of the first teddy bears, which sought to imitate the form of real bear cubs, “teddies” have greatly varied in form, style and material. They have become collector’s items, with older and rarer “teddies” appearing at public auctions. Teddy bears are among the most popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love, congratulations or sympathy.

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, who was commonly known as “Teddy” (though he loathed being referred to as such). The name originated from an incident on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902.

After three days of hunting with the Governor of Mississippi, Roosevelt was the only member of the hunting party not to have spotted a bear. So the trip would not be a failure for him, guides tracked down an old black bear the dogs had trailed and attacked. They then tied the bear to a tree and called for the President.

But Roosevelt took one look at the bear and refused to shoot it, feeling it would be unsportsmanlike. He did, however, order that the bear be put down because it was suffering. Word of this hit newspapers across the country and political cartoonist Clifford Berryman picked up the story, drawing a cartoon showing how the President refused to shoot the bear while hunting.

The original cartoon shows a small bear cub. It later appeared in other cartoons Berryman drew throughout Roosevelt’s career, connecting bears with President Roosevelt. A New York candy shop owner saw Berryman’s original cartoon and had an idea. He put in his shop window two stuffed toy bears his wife had made. He asked permission from President Roosevelt to call these toy bears “Teddy’s bears.” The rapid popularity of these bears led the man to mass-produce them, eventually forming the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company eventually becoming the Ideal Toy Company it is today.

At about the same time, a German company, Steiff, started making stuffed bears. In 1903 an American saw a stuffed bear Margaret Steiff had made and ordered many of them. These bears, which also came to be called Teddy Bears, made the international connection.  (from me, Wikipedia and

Star Trek premieres!

xStar Trek

Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment created by Gene Roddenberry that first appeared this date in 1966. The first series, now referred to as The Original Series, ran for three seasons. It followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise, a 23rd Century exploration vessel. In creating the first Star Trek, Roddenberry was inspired by Westerns such as Wagon Train. In fact, the original series was originally described as Wagon Train to the Stars. These adventures continued in six feature films and four spin-off television series.

In 2009, the film franchise underwent a “reboot” set in an alternate timeline, titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show. A sequel to that film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered on May 16, 2013. A thirteenth film feature and sequel, Star Trek Beyond, was released in July 2016, to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. A new Star Trek TV series, titled Star Trek Discovery, premiered in January 2017 on the digital platform CBS All Access.

Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon.  And it’s responsible for the ubiquitous slogan: “Beam me up, Scottie.”

 Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions, including the cell phone and tablet computers. The franchise is also noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The Original Series included one of television’s first multiracial casts. (from me and Wikipedia)