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Francis Scott Key
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    (August 2, 1779-January 11, 1843)
    Born in Carroll County, Maryland
    Wrote 'The Defense of Fort McHenry,' better known as 'The Star-Spangled Banner' (1814)
    Inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame (1970)
    He wrote a patriotic verse, then set it to the tune of a British drinking song.
    He chose a song with a one-and-half octave range, making it easy to butcher.
    He wrote four verses, but almost no one knows any but the first.
    He prosecuted would-be presidential assassin Richard Lawrence, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity (1835).
    He is the namesake of a bridge in Washington, DC notorious for its traffic congestion.
    He witnessed the Battle of Fort McHenry while negotiating the release of a prisoner held by the British.
    The flag that inspired 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is on display at the Smithsonian.
    His distant relation F. Scott Fitzgerald was named after him.
    'The Star-Spangled Banner' was named the national anthem of the United States (March 3, 1931).

Credit: C. Fishel

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