Lonn Taylor

September 11, 2014 - Lonn Taylor 09/11/2014 Views: 16,772

Lonn Taylor, co-author of "The Star-Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon," details the history of the national anthem and the battle that inspired its lyrics. (5:58)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS FORMERSMITHSONIAN HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR

OF THE "THE STAR SPANGLEDBANNER: THE MAKING OF AN

AMERICAN ICON."

SO IT'S A BOOK ABOUT A SONGABOUT A FLAG.

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE.

PLEASE WELCOME LONN TAYLOR!

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

MR. TARYLOR -- DON'T GET UP,SIR.

THANK YOU.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANKS FOR COMING ON.

>> IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT, SIR,YOU ARE A FORMER HISTORIAN AT

THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUMOF NATURAL HISTORY, AND YOU

WORKED ON THE STAR SPANGLEBANNER RESTORATION PROJECT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT CORRECT.

>> Stephen: LET'S SHOW THEFOLKS WHAT THE ACTUAL STAR

SPANGLED BANNER IS.

JIM, THROW THAT UP THERE.

NOW WERE IS THIS FLAG FROM? WHATIS IS THE HISTORY OF THIS FLAG?

>> NOW, HIS FLAG IS NOW AT THEMUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.

IT CAME THERE IN 1907.

BUT BEFORE THAT IT WAS KEPT FORNEARLY 100 YEARS IN AN ATTIC IN

BALTIMORE.

BECAUSE AFTER THE BATTLE OF FORTMcHENRY, THE COMMANDER OF THE

FORT, MAJOR GEORGE ARMSTEAD,ESSENTIALLY TOOK IT HOME AS A

PERSONAL SOUVENIR.

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A VERYEXPENSIVE PIECE OF GOVERNMENT

PROPERTY.

IT COST 400 BUCKS.

>> Stephen: THE BATTLE OFFORT McHENRY WHICH WAS 200

YEARS AGO...?

>> TOMORROW.

>> Stephen: OK, AND THAT IS THEBATTLE FRANCIS SCOTT KEY IS

DESCRIBING IN THE STAR SPANGLEDBANNER.

>> EXACTLY.

FRANCIS SCOTT KEY WAS OUT IN THEMIDDLE OF THE PATAPSCO RIVER ON

A FLAG-OF-TRUCE SHIP AND HEWATCHED THE BRITISH FLEET

BOMBARD FORT McHENRY FOR 27HOURS.

>> Stephen: AND THIS WAS THEFLAG OVER FORT McHENRY.

>> THIS WAS THE FLAG RAISED ATTHE END OF THE BATTLE.

>> Stephen: OK, S TO CELEBRATEAND TO COMMEMORATE THE 200th

ANNIVERSARY OF THAT BATTLE ANDTOMORROW HIS WRITING OF THE

NATIONAL ANTHEM, YOU HAVE A NEWBOOK CALLED "THE STAR SPANGLED

BANNER: THE MAKING OF ANAMERICAN ICON."

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THIS IS REALLYABOUT THE SONG, ISN'T IT?

>> THIS IS ABOUT THE FLAG, THESONG, THE BATTLE, THE WHOLE NINE

YARDS.

>> Stephen: OKAY THE DIETBOOK.

>> EXACTLY.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> Stephen: HOW -- WAS THE STARSPANGLED BANNER, THE SONG

ITSELF, WAS THAT EMBRACED BYPEOPLE RIGHT AWAY?

>> IT WAS NOT IMMEDIATELYPOPULAR.

IT-- IT GREW SLOWLY INPOPULARITY.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS OURNATIONAL ANTHEM BEFORE THE STAR

SPANGLED BANNER.

>> WE HAD RATHER PATRIOTICSONGS.

"YANKEE DOODLE," "HAILCOLUMBIA."

AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE BAND ATFORT McHENRY PLAYED "YAKEE

DOODLE" AT THE END OF THE BATTLEWHEN THEY RAISED THE FLAG.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

THEY PLAYED "YANKEE DOODLE WENTTO TOWN?"

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: THAT'S LIKEENDING A BATTLE AND GOING

BA-DA-DA-DUM.

>> WELL, THE STAR SPANGLEDBANNER REALLY BECAME POPULAR AS

A PATRIOTIC SONG DURING THECIVIL WAR BECAUSE IT WAS ABOUT

THE FLAG.

THE FLAG WAS A SYMBOL OF LOYALTYDURING THE CIVIL WAR.

>> Stephen: SO HOW DID KEYCOME UP WITH THIS?

I MEAN, HE LITERALLY JUST WROTEIT DURING THE BATTLE?

>> KEY WAS AN AMATEUR POET.

HE HAD WRITTEN A LOT OF POETRYBEFORE THE BATTLE.

SO HE'S OUT ON THIS SHIPWATCHING THE FORT BEING

BOMBARDED -->> Stephen: WHY WASN'T HE

FIGHTING?

WHY WAS HE WRITING POETRYINSTEAD OF FIGHTING?

>> HE WAS A LAWYER!

>> Stephen: HE WAS A LAWYER,OKAY.

>> HE WAS A VERY PROMINENTWASHINGTON D.C. LAWYER.

AND HE HAD GONE OUT TO THEBRITISH FLEET TO TRY TO SPRING

AN AMERICAN PRISONER, ADR. BEANS WHO HAD BEEN ARRESTED

BY THE BRITISH AND TAKEN OUTON BOARD THE BRITISH FLAGSHIP

>> Stephen: SO DR. BEANS WASOUT ON THE BRITISH FLAGSHIP.

>> DR. BEANS.

>> Stephen: AND DID THEY GETHIM BACK?

>> HE DID.

>> Stephen: I THOUGHT THEYWOULD'VE SAID NO BEANS.

HOW DID KEY MANAGE TO WRITE THESTAR SPANGLED BANNER WHEN YOU

KNOW HE HAD HIS HAND OVER HISHEART THE ENTIRE TIME.

WHEN DID THAT START?

DO YOU KNOW WHEN HE PUT OUR HANDOVER OUR HEART, TAKE OUR HATS

OFF, STAND UP, THAT KIND OFSTUFF.

>> WELL, BELEIVE IT OR NOT, WEUSED TO PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE

FLAG GOING LIKE THIS.

>> Stephen: WOW.

WHY ON EARTH DID THAT STOP?

>> IT WAS THE LIKE A ROLLINGSALUTE, YOU KNOW.

THE HAND OVER THE HEART, WHENTHE SONG WAS SUNG, REALLY BEGAN

DURING WORD WAR ONE.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE AFAVORITE VERSION?

BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OFCONTROVERSIAL VERSIONS OF THE

STAR SPANGLED BANNER.

ROSANNE BAR, JIMI HENDRIX OFWOODSTOCK PLAYED IT.

>> YUP, YUP.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE AVERSION YOU PARTICULARLY LOVE?

>> YOU KNOW, THERE'S NO OFFICIALVERSION.

ANY WAY THEY PLAY IT AND SING ITIS ALREADY LRT WITH ME.

IT CAN BE SUNG IN SPANISH.

IT CAN BE SUNG IN POLISH.

>> Stephen: DON'T YOU DARE!

YOU TAKE THAT BACK.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK, SIR.

>> LIVE WHERE SPANISH IS ASECOND LANGUAGE.

Stephen: WHERE, EVERYWHEREIN AMERICA?

>> TEXAS. ABOUT 60 MILES FROMTHE BORDER.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE TOSING THE OFFICIAL TUNE OR CAN

YOU CHANGE THE TUNE?

>> NO, THE TUNE IS SET BYCONGRESS.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: I DIDN'T REALIZETHEY WERE SO MUSICALLY GIFTED.

( LAUGHTER ).

>> THAT WAS THE RESULT OF A VERYINTENSE LOBBYING EFFORT BY A

BALTIMORE LADY AND THECONGRESSMAN FROM BALTIMORE.

THEY LOBBYED FOR 20 YEARS TO GETCONGRESS TO MAKE THE STAR

SPANGLED BANNER OUR NATIONALANTHEM.

>> Stephen: AND WHAT WERETHEIR NAMES?

>> I KNEW YOU'D ASK.

MRS. HOLLOWAY.

AND CONGRESSMAN CHARLESLUNTHECOM.

>> Stephen: WELL DONE.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU SHOULD WRITEA BOOK ABOUT THIS.

>> I'M A HISTORIAN.

WE KNOW STUFF LIKE THAT.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU, STEPHEN.

>> Stephen: LONN TAYLOR.

NO, YOU STAY THERE.

YOU STAY THERE.

THE BOOK IS "THE STAR SPANGLEDBANNER."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

THANK YOU.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) ♪ ♪