Grammy winners lead National Anthem sing-along on the song’s 200th birthday


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2014_05_lyrics The original lyrics of America’s national anthem will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of National History as part of the National Anthem’s 200th birthday celebration. (Photo: Smithsonian)

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Oh say, do you want to be part of history? This weekend, you can sing along with Grammy winners and proud Americans from across the country when the Smithsonian National Museum of American History hosts “Raise it Up! Anthem for America,” a celebration to mark the 200th birthday of the National Anthem.

Famous voices like Renee Fleming, who sang the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, and Brian McKnight will lead the sing-along on the National Mall this Flag Day, steps from the banner that inspired Francis Scott Key’s song. Other cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, will also be hosting “Raise it Up!” parties at the same time Saturday, 4 p.m. EST.

“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,” said John L. Gray, director of the American History Museum. “It is an honor for the museum to be home of the Star-Spangled Banner and to preserve it for future generations.”

Also June 14, the Smithsonian will debut Key’s original manuscript of the “Star Spangled Banner” lyrics. It will be the first time the lyrics are displayed alongside the 30-by-34 foot flag that Key saw when he penned his famous tribute.

Key’s lyrics, on loan from the Maryland  Historical Society, will be in Washington, D.C., until July 6.

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