Museum joins national Flag Day anthem sing-along
“The Star-Spangled Banner” may be musically challenging, with archaic, hard-to-remember lyrics, but it’s still our national anthem.
And this year marks the historic song’s bicentennial, so why not celebrate?
On Saturday afternoon, as the country officially observes Flag Day, the High Point Museum will serve as an official location for “Raise It Up! Anthem For America,” a national sing-along event for people to come together and sing the national anthem.
At 4 p.m., museum staff and anyone who wants to join them will gather around the museum’s flagpole to sing the anthem.
The local event is part of a national campaign organized by the National Museum of American History. Similar events will be held at locations across the country, all culminating with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at 4 p.m.
“People all over the country will be singing the national anthem at the same time, so it will be a great way to celebrate Flag Day,” said Edith Brady, executive director of the High Point Museum. “Everybody that comes will be given a miniature American flag, and we’re going to have lemonade available.”
For the musically impaired, fear not: Vocalist Gail Spink will lead the local sing-along. An accomplished vocalist, Spink has a music degree from the University of Connecticut and has been performing for more than 30 years, including being the featured soloist at numerous churches and wedding venues. She has also performed with several contemporary bands, including The Tyler Millard Band of Oak Ridge.
In addition to the singing of the national anthem, donations will be accepted to help with the conservation of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the anthem 200 years ago at Fort McHenry, after the victorious Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. The 30-by-42-foot flag, tattered but still intact, has undergone extensive conservation treatment, but more work is needed. The flag is currently on display in a custom-built, environmentally controlled chamber at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
“Two-hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, inspired by the sight of the flag’s ‘broad stripes and bright stars,’ wrote a song that gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which Americans have invested the flag with their own meaning and memories,” John L. Gray, director of the National Museum of American History, said in a statement.
“It is an honor for the museum to be the home of the Star-Spangled Banner and to preserve it for future generations.”
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Want to go?
A “Raise It Up! Anthem For America” event, in which participants will join others around the country in the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at the High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave.
Participants will be given small American flags for the celebration, and refreshments will be provided.
Donations will be accepted to help with the conservation of the original 200-year-old flag. (This is only being done locally; the national event being held in Washington, D.C., is not a fundraiser.)
For more information about the local event, call the museum at 885-1859. For more information about the national event, visit www.anthemforamerica.si.edu.
About the flag
•On the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, Maj. George Armistead hoisted a magnificent American flag above Fort McHenry to signal the American victory over superior British forces in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.
•Amateur poet Francis Scott Key, who had witnessed the 25-hour bombardment from aboard an American truce ship in the harbor, was so moved by the unfurling of the flag that he penned a poem in tribute. He set the words to music, and the song became the national anthem in 1931.
•He named the flag he saw that morning the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and it is still known by that name.
•The flag was made by Mary Pickersgill, a professional flagmaker from Baltimore, during the summer of 1813. She was paid $405.90 for the 30-by-42-foot flag.
•The flag features 15 red-and-white wool stripes and 15 cotton stars placed on the blue canton.
•The widespread belief that the flag actually flew during the Battle of Baltimore is a myth. Eyewitness accounts confirm that the flag was raised the morning after the battle to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.”
•The flag is on display in a custom-built, environmentally controlled chamber at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.