Band's concert will honor veterans

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Band of Hawks to perform Thursday

The LaRue County Band of Hawks will present their annual spring concert on Thursday, May 8 at First Baptist Church in Hodgenville. The concert begins at 7 p.m. will feature all the bands, from sixth grade through high school. 

The concert will include a special salute to veterans of the Armed Forces. 

"This being the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, I thought it would be very fitting to honor the folks who have fought for the principles in which our flag represents," said Jaime Smith, band director. "We hear the national anthem in many places, but many folks may not know the story behind the song."

The concert will not be completely patriotic," Smith added, "but will include an arrangement of the national anthem and a tribute to our country’s heroes." 

The public is invited to the performance, which is expected to be about 90 minutes long (including all four bands). The special veteran's tribute and salute to the Star-Spangled Banner will be during the high school band's performance. "Our students would love to see a tremendous showing of our local veterans at the concert," Smith concluded.


History of the Star-Spangled Banner

After the British captured and burned Washington DC, they returned to their ships anchored near Benedict. They passed through the town of Upper Marlboro where a few stragglers and one deserter began plundering nearby farms. Dr. William Beanes and other American civilians seized six or seven of the stragglers and confined them to a local jail. When one escaped and informed his superiors of the arrest, a contingent of British marines returned to Upper Marlboro and arrested Beanes and the others, and held them in exchange for the release of the British prisoners. The Americans were released except Beanes, who was considered the instigator of the incident. In violation of the existing rules of war, he was placed in confinement aboard HMS Tonnant.

U.S. Attorney Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner, the U.S. Agent for Exchange of Prisoners, were urged to seek the release of Dr. Beanes, and boarded the HMS Tonnant under a flag of truce. They showed the British officials letters from wounded British soldiers who were left behind after the Battle of Bladensburg, giving testimony to the kindness and treatment given them by U.S. hands. This so moved British General Ross, who had ordered the arrest of Beanes, he suggested to Cochrane that Beanes be released after the planned attack on Baltimore.

Beanes, Key, and Skinner had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from onboard the truce vessel. Key was so inspired by the scene of the battle that he composed a song that eventually became the National Anthem. Key chose the tune, "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith, because it was a popular American and British melody and he had previously adapted it to other lyrics.

Key, Beanes, and Stuart were released as the British retreated, and that night Key worked on his song. Handbills were quickly printed and copies distributed to every man who was at Fort McHenry during the bombardment. Key's words were first printed on Sept. 20, 1814, in the Baltimore Patriot and Advertiser under the title "Defence of Fort M'Henry." By the end of the year, Key's words were printed across the country as a reminder of the American victory. In 1931, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation that made "The Star-Spangled Banner" the official National Anthem.

Following the Chesapeake Campaign and the War of 1812, the American flag developed into a dominant national symbol. The Star-Spangled Banner assumed a meaning beyond local celebration. This flag represents the broad ideals and values of the nation. Today, the American flag continues to evoke a special, patriotic feeling. In times of war, when returning from overseas, during space exploration, and at sporting events or other public gatherings, the American flag continues to represent freedom, democracy, and the intangible nature of "what it means to be an American."  (courtesy of Star-Spangled 200 and The National Park Service).