Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fun on Flag Day

By Nina Kendall

Flag Day will soon be upon us. It is time to start thinking about how to celebrate this year. Whether or not you have celebrated Flag Day in the past, you have more opportunities and reasons this year than ever before. This year we mark the anniversary of the adoption of the American flag and the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Flag Day is June 14th.  This day is designated flag day as it is the day the Continental Congress approved the design for the flag. While the movement for a recognized flag day dates back to the late 19th century, national support was first secured when President Wilson declared via presidential proclamation a national Flag Day (June 14) in 1916. Later President Truman signed the law creating an annual national observance of Flag Day.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem, was written more than three decades after the design of the flag was approved.  This poem later set to music was written by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Ft. McHenry in 1814. Key watched from a British ship in the harbor which he had boarded to negotiate the release of prisoners from British capture. The song and the flag he saw flying over the fort grew in popularity and importance throughout the 19th century. In  1931, the song officially  became the national anthem. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the authorship of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
With all this in mind, Flag Day is a great opportunity to put more history in your life. Here are a few suggestions:
·   Listen to a 19th century rendition.

·   View the Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian National American History Museum or use this interactive program to learn more about the banner.

·   Explore the Star-Spangled Banner online exhibit by yourself or with kids to introduce them to the story. Then when you complete the exhibit quiz, get your certificate.

·   Join the Anthem for America party at the National American History Museum or via the web. Enjoy the concert and join the largest group sing of the anthem at 4 pm.

·   Look here for Anthem for America party closer to home. There are events nationwide.

·   Look for local observances or parades. You may find something hosted by a local city, civic organization, or historic site.

·   Check out a few books to read with your kids. Share with them your favorites stories of America.

·   Enjoy Flag Fest at Betsy Ross’ House.

·   Visit the Constitution Center.

·   Host your own Anthem party and watch a patriotic themed movie like Yankee Doodle Dandy.

This Flag Day will be one to remember.  We hope you make plans to put a little history in your life. Share your fun with us!  Twitter: @Histocrats  hashtag: #raiseitup

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