If you had been standing on this rampart with the American gunners on the morning of September 14, 1814, you would have had a close-up view of the dramatic scene Francis Scott Key described in our National Anthem.
About two miles downstream, half way to the large Francis Scott Key Bridge visible today, the British fleet had gathered to attack Fort McHenry. A few enemy ships sailed in closer by turns to fire their bombs and rockets. Francis Scott Key watched from the deck of a truce ship at the fleet's rear—behind the modern bridge. Above and behind you, the famous flag waved gallantly in the breeze.
Many doubt that Key could have seen the flag from such a distance. Remember, however, that it was large, and that Key probably watched through a spyglass. Also, the colors of the bright-starred banner could have shone brilliantly when lit by flashing explosives during the overcast night, and later, by the first rays of dawn.