Saturday, July 5, 2014
Fireworks on the Mississippi
After a relaxing day AND a nap, we met the Riggs at their house and headed out for frozen yogurt (where I devoured tart vanilla and mango something or other little balls of juice. I'll try anything with mango!) and fireworks on the Mississippi River. What a delightful evening. The Riggs are so enjoyable to be with, I'm ready to return for a repeat of last night's yogurt, and fireworks are never a disappointment. We were right downtown by the old capitol and walked a few blocks to the levee. After crossing the railroad tracks, climbing through a chain link fence and up the levee, we found great cement seats with a perfect view of the evening's show.
4th of July fireworks never fail to remind me of one of my favorite patriotic locations of all time--Fort McHenry in Baltimore. It's an emotional reminder of how "The Star-Spangled Banner" came to be.
In September, 1814, Francis Scott Key, a young Georgetown lawyer and poet, witnessed the bombardment of Ft. McHenry while under British guard aboard an American truce ship near the Baltimore harbor. His law partner was there to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, whom the British had taken prisoner on their return march from Washington. As the dawn broke on the morning of Sept. 14, Key saw the American flag still flying and was moved to pen the immortal lines which were finished two days later in a Baltimore hotel. Originally entitled "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," it wasn't officially made the national anthem until 1931.
After a much more thorough movie re-creation of the events of Sept 13-14, a huge curtain is drawn to reveal an enormous replica of the flag which was flown over Ft. McHenry (the original is on permanent display at the Smithsonian), while a men's choir sings the National Anthem. Emotions of gratitude and pride for our nation, the Star and Stripes and those who made it possible moves everyone to tears.