The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

January 8, 2014

Star-Spangled banner, song to be joined in DC

WASHINGTON —  The original, handwritten manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the flag that inspired the song's lyrics will be displayed together at the Smithsonian in Washington, the first time the historic pieces are believed to have been shown side by side.

The manuscript is normally on display at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore and the flag has been at the Smithsonian since the early 1900s. They will be displayed together from Flag Day, June 14, through July 6. The three-week display is the start of celebrations marking 200 years since the song was written on Sept. 14, 1814.

Bonnie Lilienfeld, a Smithsonian curator who is working on the manuscript's display in Washington, said she hopes the exhibit will help people think more about where the song's words came from. Having the two objects together provides an "aha moment," said Jennifer Jones, the curator who oversees the flag.

"It's meant to be emotional. It's meant to be reflective," she said.

Francis Scott Key was a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet when he wrote the song's words during the War of 1812. Key watched as the British bombarded Baltimore's Fort McHenry for more than 24 hours. When he saw the fort's flag flying on the morning after the bombardment, a signal that U.S. troops had withstood the enemy, he was inspired to write a poem originally called "Defense of Fort McHenry." The poem, set to music and later renamed, became the country's national anthem in 1931.

Key's original manuscript, written with quill and ink, has two surprises for viewers who know the song. First, Key's poem is actually four stanzas, though the first stanza is the only one that's traditionally sung. And, second, Key wrote, "Oh say can you see through the dawn's early light," but crossed out "through" and wrote "by."

Americans may be more familiar with the flag, which gets millions of visitors a year at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The flag has been at Smithsonian for more than a century after being given to the institution by the family of Maj. George Armistead. Armistead was the commander of Fort McHenry and the man who commissioned the banner with 15 stripes and 15 stars, representing the number of states in the Union at the time.

Except for a period during World War II, when it was housed in Virginia for safekeeping, the flag hasn't traveled outside of Washington since coming to the Smithsonian.

Key's manuscript has traveled only slightly more often since being purchased for the historical society in the 1950s. In 2011 it was taken by armored vehicle, with a police escort, to the state's capital in Annapolis and to Fort McHenry. And in 2013, the museum brought the manuscript to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Md., where Key is buried.

Burt Kummerow, the president of the Maryland Historical Society, said he hopes this summer's exhibit will be a chance for people to study the song's words. He compared the song to a church hymn, something that has become so familiar that what Key was trying to say can get lost. And he called putting the manuscript and flag together a "very, very special moment."

"It isn't going to happen again anytime soon," he said.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • news_holtzclaw.jpg Policeman accused of serial sex assault on patrol

    An Oklahoma City police officer arrested on charges of serial sexual assault preyed on women in the rundown neighborhoods he was assigned to patrol — picking some up off the street, pulling others over at traffic stops and in one case taking a woman to a nearby school, according to an affidavit released Friday.

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ferguson.jpg New fear: What happens in Ferguson if no charges?

    Conditions calmed this week in Ferguson after nights of sometimes violent unrest stemming from the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer. But a delicate and crucial question lingers: What happens if the grand jury now considering the case doesn’t return a charge against the officer?

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • US existing home sales rise for 4th straight month

     Sales of existing U.S. homes rose for the fourth straight month in July to their highest level in nearly a year, the latest sign that the housing recovery is picking up after stumbling at the start of the year.

    August 21, 2014

  • Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has recovered and was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.

    August 21, 2014

  • Holder bringing personal perspective to Ferguson

     Eric Holder talks about the nation's civil rights struggles in a way no previous U.S. attorney general could — by telling his own family story.

    August 20, 2014

  • Senate control could rest with well-funded women

    Control of the Senate could lie in the fortunes of female candidates and the deep-pocketed donors, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are sending piles of cash their way.

    August 20, 2014

  • Iraq forces retake Mosul Dam; militants deny claim

    Boosted by two days of U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces on Monday wrested back control of the country's largest dam from Islamic militants, a military spokesman in Baghdad said as fighting was reported to be underway for the rest of the strategic complex.

    August 18, 2014

  • US stocks open higher; Family Dollar jumps

     U.S. stocks are opening higher, following gains in Europe.

    August 18, 2014

  • Federal autopsy ordered in Missouri teen's death

    Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on a black Missouri teenager whose fatal shooting by a white police officer has spurred a week of rancorous and sometimes-violent protests in suburban St. Louis.

    August 17, 2014

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium