Long KSA narratives may be on the way out, but this KSA written by Kathryn Troutman is a Fourth of July classic!
This KSA features the Context, Challenge, Action, Results (CCAR) format preferred by federal human resources specialists. See our free KSA CCAR Builder to create your KSAs in the CCAR format.
Read the original blog with the historical background to this inspiring story here: Star Spangled Banner Inspiration.
Star-Spangled Banner: Classic KSA
Candidate: Francis Scott Key, Sept. 14, 1814
Position: Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Congress
KSA: Ability to Communicate in Writing
AUTHORED THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
Context: As an attorney and aide-de-camp to General Smith, stationed near Upper Marlboro, MD, I found out my dear friend and elderly, Dr. Beane, who was captured by the British Army during a party at his home in Upper Marlboro. I was on a British vessel flagged for truce by President Jackson, on my way to pick up a captured friend in Marlborough. We got as far as the mouth of the Patuxent and then we were not permitted to return lest an intended attack on Baltimore by the British should be disclosed. We were brought up the Bay just across from Fort McHenry and there we were compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall.
Challenge: We watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with more than 500 bombs from British ships to Ft. McHenry. In the night the smaller weather flag was flying while we watched the Bomb shells in darkness not knowing that the American Military had secretly planned 4 barges, which the British did not detect. These barges attached the British militia and sent them running, some with tugs assisting. At the early dawn our eyes were surprising greeted by the proudly the 15-star flag of our country (late to be known as the Star Spangled Banner).
Actions: By morning, I was compelled to pen a poem that reflected my thoughts of the war and particularly of the flag, “Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light?” was my first thought.
I wrote four verses that reflected topics about the day before and my vision of the flag in the morning. The first verse reviews the dawn’s light and the flag with broad stripes and bright stars that was still flying in the morning; the second verse reviews the dread silence and how the flag was fitfully blowing; the third verse reviews the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion; and the final and fourth verse celebrates the victory and peace that preserved our nation.
Results: I witnessed the last enemy fire to fall on Fort McHenry and in this memory, I wrote the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which has been renamed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and has become a well-known American patriotic song. The poem and song were recognized for official Navy use in 1931 and became the national them by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 and signed by President Herbert Hoover.