Every year in June, Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, Maryland, deploys what is perhaps one of the most unique aids to navigation in its light list. Covered in red, white and blue, with a field of stars, the nun buoy is a memorial to Francis Scott Key, who on September 14, 1814, wrote “Defence of Fort McHenry,” the poem that would become “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.
The USCGC James Rankin on Monday set the star-spangled buoy in the approximate location where Key wrote the poem as a prisoner aboard a British ship. Key was inspired to write the poem because of the 30- by 42-foot flag that flew above the fort during and after the Bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. This video shows the Coast Guard setting the buoy on Monday.
The buoy is deployed every June and removed in November, to protect it from ice. You can find it on NOAA Chart 12281 just northwest of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This year marks the 38th season for the inimitable buoy.