A Star-Spangled Anniversary

Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem http://www.starspangled200.com/

Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem (http://www.starspangled200.com/)

September 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In September 1814, after a 25-hour long battle with the British, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a 42-foot American flag in victory. A young Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was aboard a ship in Baltimore’s harbor to negotiate the release of an American prisoner and was so inspired by the patriotic sight that he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Image source: nps.gov

Francis Scott Key (nps.gov)

If you’re lucky enough to be in Maryland during the month of September, the Star-Spangled Spectacular is a free festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Tall ships, Navy ships, and the Blue Angels will come to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Landside festivals include living history demonstrations. Events crescendo on September 13, 2014 with two star-studded patriotic concerts and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and the Baltimore harbor, which will broadcast live on PBS’ Great Performances. Learn more here.

You can check out the National Park Service’s Fort McHenry page for details about the park, its history, and the festivities.

The U.S. Government Printing Office offers publications and resources to help you learn more about this pivotal point in American history.

citizens almanacAvailable through the U.S. Government Bookstore, The Citizen’s Almanac: Fundamental Documents, Symbols, and Anthems of the United States, contains information on the history, people, and events of the United States. This resource is primarily targeted at immigrants hoping to become U.S. citizens. However, it can also serve as a patriotic resource for elementary school-age children through freshmen in high school. Teachers of social studies and civics programs may want to have a copy handy to use in classrooms. Some examples of things covered in the publication are: rights and responsibilities of citizens, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, landmark decisions of the Supreme Court, and much more. A related resource is the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit.

GPO’s Federal Digital System also has a variety of Government documents related to the Star-Spangled Banner:

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications provides access to a fascinating document from the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History: The Star-Spangled Banner: State-of-the-Flag Report, 2001. This document describes the history of THE flag that inspired our National Anthem, where it has traveled since 1814, the conservation project undertaken to preserve it for future generations, and more.

Also check out this information from the Smithsonian on the Star-Spangled Banner. You can also learn about the flag’s preservation project here. You can also learn more about Francis Scott-Key here.

You can also visit a Federal depository library near you to discover what other publications the Federal Government has to offer on this incredible moment in American history. Locations are nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.


In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.

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