WASHINGTON (AP) — Girl Scouts, Little League baseball players, celebrity musicians and President Barack Obama joined a national celebration Saturday, which is flag day, marking the 200th anniversary of the national anthem and the flag that inspired its lyrics.
Obama introduced the Smithsonian Channel’s new one-hour documentary special about the history of “The Star Spangled Banner” and the 200-year-old flag in a show premiering Saturday night.
Many Americans know the tune but don’t actually know the words or events that inspired them, producers said. The president recorded a message about the flag’s history for the new documentary on Friday.
The National Museum of American History coordinated a celebration and national sing-a-long Saturday on the National Mall with an “Anthem for America” concert.
Inside the museum, Francis Scott Key’s original handwritten “Star-Spangled Banner” manuscript is displayed with the flag for the first time. It’s usually housed at the Maryland Historical Society.
Country singer Carlene Carter, daughter of June Carter Cash, led the sing-a-long on the National Mall at 4 p.m. A 400-person choir also performed “America the Beautiful” and “Lift Every Voice” during an earlier concert. The performances were streamed live on ESPN3 and YouTube.
Nationwide, 800 Macy’s stores plan to play the national anthem Saturday.
The bands Phish and Train and singer Renee Fleming are among 20 musicians recording their own renditions or messages about the flag for YouTube.
Recording of the event