Star Spangled Banner Flag Smithsonian

On this day in 1814, United States soldiers raised this 30′ x 42′ foot garrison flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore to celebrate a critical victory over the British during the War of 1812:

Star Spangled Banner National Anthem

Seeing those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem entitled “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” It soon became the song we know as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and eventually, Our national anthem.

In turn, that flag, and the following words from the fourth stanza of Key’s poem inspired Our Lost Founding to create this t-shirt design:

“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”

Star-Spangled Motto


What hath God wrought? The first telegraphic message

On this day in 1844, Samuel Finley Breese (F.B.) Morse dispatches the first ever telegraphic message over an experimental line running from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. Telegrams forever changed our national communication system.

Morse had spent the previous 12 years developing a telegraph instrument and composing Morse code.

That iconic, timeless first message was “What hath God wrought?”

Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of Morse’s old college friend, Henry L. Ellsworth, the Commissioner of Patents, suggested the phrase from the Bible, Numbers 23:23.

Now it shall be said…

Here is some more context of that Bible verse:

21b The LORD their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them.
22 God brings them out of Egypt
and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
23 For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
‘What has God wrought!’
24 Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up
and as a lion it lifts itself;
it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.


What hath God wrought? The first telegraphic message with Morse code