There is nothing that stirs the patriot’s heart more than a rendition of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Whether it be played at the start of a raucous sporting event or sung solemnly to honor our country’s military, the song embodies the indomitable American spirit and its willingness to fight on even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to the song during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814 as the British bombarded the American held Fort McHenry. Both Key’s poignant and poetic descriptions of that night and the historical circumstance of the attack serve as the basis for the composition of my latest painting, By The Dawn’s Early Light: Fort McHenry 1814. In the foreground, American soldiers run about their garrison, manning battlements and preparing cannons to answer the British naval threat. Overhead bombs burst in the air and rockets light up the morning sky, all the while, smoke from the fires set by the shelling flow through the scene like harbingers of a pending American defeat. Nevertheless, through it all, “Old Glory” waves defiantly against the loss that seemed so certain. We as citizens of this country should never take for granted the hard-won freedoms Americans enjoy and I hope this painting inspires that kind of reflection its viewers. I also hope that as you enjoy this first painting in my series of “Moments in American History” you plan to take future journeys with me. And, as always, I thank you for sharing my adventures in art.