June Gleanings

A Monthly Chart Presentation and Discussion Pulling Together the Disciplines of Economics, Fundamentals, Technical Analysis, and Quantitative Analysis Published by Raymond James & Associates

“This is my annual “Happy Birthday, America” report, a tribute to Independence Day, because Wednesday our nation celebrates its 242nd birthday. Yet, it was actually on July 2nd when America broke from Great Britain. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was signed, which is why we celebrate the occasion on the 4th of July. I always commemorate the day by rereading the lyrics from the “Star-Spangled Banner” in honor of our forefathers’ courage. While most citizens know the first stanza of said anthem, few know the other three. Nor do they know the history leading up to the crafting of its words. The year was 1812, and the United States was at war with England over freedom of the seas. It was a tumultuous time, as Great Britain was struggling withNapoleon’s invasion of Russia. In 1814, however, Napoleon was beaten and England turned its attention to the United States. While many naval battles were fought, the fight eventually centered on the central part of the U.S. as the British attempted to split this country in half. Washington, D.C. was taken, and then the Brits “marched” toward Baltimore, where a mere 1,000 patriots manned the cannons at Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If Baltimore was to “fall,” the British would have to take Fort McHenry. The attack commenced on the morning of September 13, 1814, as 19 British ships began pounding
the fort with rockets and mortar shells. After an initial exchange of fire, the Brits withdrew to just outside the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons and continued their bombardment for the next 25 hours. Surprisingly, on board one of the British ships was 35-year-old poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was there arguing for the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British. Even though the captain agreed to the release, the two Americans were required to stay aboard until the attack on Baltimore was over. It was now the night of September 13 as the bombardment continued. As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. And, as reprised by famed author Isaac Asimov:

Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning, the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew. As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, ‘Can you see the flag?’”

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