A doctor, a lawyer, and a flag that still waved

While we consider July 4 to be the birthday of the United States, June 14 is the birthday of the United States flag. So June 14 is observed as National Flag Day but is not an official holiday, so banks don’t close and no one gets a day off work.

But we enjoy it anyway, wearing red, white, and blue, and displaying the flag at homes and businesses. Some patriotic organizations pass out small flags or flag pins to wear.

American flag waving at a Vietnam Veterans Wall replica
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica

The United States flag is often called the “Star-Spangled Banner”, after our national anthem, which is more about the flag than about the nation. I don’t know if this is true in other countries, but we tend to closely identify our flag with our national identity; maybe that’s one reason there has been such heated debate about the way people acknowledge the flag publicly.

A lawyer and a doctor

So that brings us to a true story involving a doctor and a lawyer that almost sounds like the opening line of a joke. Today doctors and lawyers sometimes bear the brunt of jokes or criticism, but in this story they played a pivotal role in American history. It’s a story that most people know, but maybe not the whole story.

The lawyer, Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key’s role in our national anthem is well known-he wrote it. A lawyer, he was on a rescue mission during the War of 1812, and spent a harrowing night watching the British assault Ft. McHenry.

The next morning, when he saw the red, white, and blue flag still flying over the fort, he was moved to write a poem. That poem became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The doctor, William Beanes, M.D.

Dr. Beanes’ role is less well known. Dr. Beanes was the object of Mr. Key’s rescue mission. Dr. Beanes had been captured by British soldiers and imprisoned on a ship. Local citizens arranged for Francis Key to go to the ship and negotiate his release. It is believed the British were persuaded to do so because Dr. Beanes had previously treated injured British soldiers. Whatever the reason, the “elderly” (age 65!) doctor was freed and he, Key, and John Skinner, waited out the battle on a near-by truce ship.

An anthem is born

“Interestingly, he( Key) made no effort to promote this composition. In fact, he did not even sign it. He merely showed his lyrics to a few friends, who then circulated the work. For several decades, Key’s name rarely appeared alongside these lyrics, which — by the time of the Civil War — had become arguably America’s most beloved song.

It wasn’t until 1931 that a congressional resolution signed by President Herbert Hoover made “The Star-Spangled Banner” the U.S. national anthem — an anthem that never would’ve existed had a lawyer not been asked to help out a doctor.” TIME.ORG

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James McHenry, M.D.

Even Ft. McHenry has a medical connection- it was named for a doctor, James McHenry.

James McHenry emigrated from Ireland to the American colonies in 1771. He studied medicine with Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia and immediately volunteered as an Army surgeon when the Revolutionary War began. After serving in the medical department in Massachusetts, New York and at Valley Forge, he became an aide to General George Washington and subsequently an aide to the Marquis de Lafayette.

President Washington appointed McHenry Secretary of War and he continued in that post under President John Adams. Baltimore’s Fort Whetstone was renamed Fort McHenry in his honor. (source-PubMed.gov)

sharing the HEART of history

I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of medical history trivia and that it prompts you to do some history exploring on your own. You may also find this related link interesting

Poems and poppies-why we remember John McCrae-physician, poet, reluctant soldier

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. And check out my resources page where you’ll find links that will help you and help support this blog. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me.

American Legion Auxiliary logo in a field of poppies
OLD GLORY I am proud to be a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, a women’s service organization supporting veterans, the military, and our country. In this link from the ALA blog, learn why the flag is also called Old Glory.

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What is Palm Sunday?

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Jesus Enters Jerusalem
(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)

The prophet Zechariah had said 

“Announce to the people
of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.’ ”

The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches which they had cut from trees. Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting,

Hooray for the Son of David!
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!”

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew21 CEV

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.


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The “holidays” of Lent

Palm Sunday is one of several “holidays”, or more correctly holy days that Christians “celebrate”, meaning observe, in the weeks before Easter which we call Lent.

Lent starts with the well known Fat Tuesday-Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.

Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, related in the story above. At my church on Palm Sunday, the preschool age children march into the auditorium waving palm branches and sing a song for us. The parents and grandparents sit up front, proudly taking pictures and video. It’s a day to celebrate before we observe solemn sad days before the week is over.

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos

The photos in this post are from Lightstock-quality photos and graphics site- get a free photo here. 

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sharing the HEART of health

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. And check out my resources page where you’ll find links that will help you and help support this blog. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha