Anthem Commem Bill
By David L. Ganz
If the U.S.
House of Representatives has its way, a $5 gold
piece and a silver dollar would be issued in
2012, commemorating the 198th anniversary of the
writing of the National Anthem - free verse that
was then, as now, sung to the tune of an old
British beer ballad, "To Anacreon in Heaven."
Written in 1814 at harbor side as the British
were pounding Baltimore's Fort McHenry during a
25-hour bombardment with rockets and cannons in
an attempt to capture the position, author
Francis Scott Key was being held from concluding
a truce mission to secure the release of Dr.
William Beanes, who had been captured after the
British burned Washington, D.C.
On the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, after the
bombardment, Key peered through the clearing
smoke to see a 42-foot by 30-foot American flag
flying proudly atop the fort and wrote what is
today known as "The Star Spangled Banner," The
flag is now in the Smithsonian Institution.
The War of 1812 with Great Britain has confused
students of history for generations. It began in
1812, the Treaty of Ghent (1814) brought
hostilities to an end, and after the war was
over but before that news reached American
shores, Gen. Andrew Jackson won an overwhelming
victory at the Battle of New Orleans (1815).
Much of Washington, D.C., including the White
House and the Capitol were burned during the war
after the Americans lost the Battle of
Bladensburg Aug. 24, 1814.
Two coins in H.R. 2097 contain the usual
surcharges, $35 for the gold coin and $10 for
the silver dollar, will go to the 1812 War
Bicentennial Commission, authorized by Congress
in 2007. No more than 100,000 gold coins and
500,000 silver dollars may be minted.
Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D-Md.,
introduced the bill as the "Star-Spangled Banner
and War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorative Coin
It passed the House Sept. 9 on a recorded vote.
Only Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, voted against it.
He has a long tradition of opposing
non-circulating, collector-only commemorative
coin bills, even though at one time he was in a
business relationship with California coin
dealer, the late Burton S. Blumert. He typically
does not oppose circulating commemoratives.
From here, the bill goes to the Senate where, if
passed in identical form, would go to President
Obama for signature into law.