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The Star Spangled Banner: Celebrating the 200 anniversary of our national anthem

This flag flew over Fort McHenry then it had 15 stars & 15 stripes
This flag flew over Fort McHenry then it had 15 stars & 15 stripes
Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Today, Fort McHenry is still standing proud at the mouth of Baltimore harbor after 200 years; however, it is no longer an active army post, but instead it serves as an important historical shrine now under the supervision of the U.S. National Parks Service.

As the last significant battle of the War of 1812, Fort McHenry would not fall after a furious bombardment of rockets for over 25 hours. Since the White House and Capital were literally burning, if Baltimore harbor fell to the British, they could possibly win back their former colonies; therefore, losing was not an option.

On Sept. 14, 1814, the huge 30 x 42-foot American garrison flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, still flew in the dawn’s early light to inspire an attorney, Francis Scott Key, to write a three verse poem, which became our National Anthem.

In the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, there was a banner elevated above the entrance to the Star Spangled Banner Gallery of an abstract flag, 40 feet long and up to 19 feet high.

Inside of the Star Spangled Banner’s gallery, the 30 by 34 wool and cotton flag, which inspired the national anthem is displayed in a setting with floor to ceiling glass windows, designed to represent a feeling of the “dawn’s early light.” It is a very well done permanent exhibition of this very old American garrison flag.

“Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have used the flag with their own meanings and memories,” said an article from the American History museum.

Therefore, a very fragile gigantic American flag along with the Star-Spangled Banner’s national anthem can both represent this nation together as enduring historical national treasures. They have been forged together from the very beginnings of American's then very small fledgling nation.

The City of Baltimore is planning a week long series of various food festivals, family activities, and endless celebrations of this very special 200th year birthday of the American Star-Spangled Banner's national anthem.

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