WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Institution is beginning a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the flag and song that became the national anthem with a new forever stamp from the U.S. Postal Service.
The star-spangled banner stamp was dedicated Thursday at the National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian has housed the flag that inspired the words for the national anthem since the early 1900s.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the British bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. In September 1814, lawyer Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as he saw the flag. The song became the U.S. anthem in 1931.
The Smithsonian is planning events all year to celebrate the flag and its history, including a simultaneous singing of the anthem nationwide on Flag Day, June 14. It will be led by a celebrity artist singing on the National Mall. The museum also will display Key’s original manuscript with the flag for the first time, borrowing the handwritten text from the Maryland Historical Society.
The museum also is challenging restaurants and barkeepers to join the celebration in June by having mixologists in 15 cities create beverages inspired by the star-spangled banner.
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