Smithsonian to host nationwide sing-a-long for 200th anniversary of national anthem


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This handout photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution, taken in Nov. 2008, shows a family viewing the Star Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington. Girl Scouts, Little League players and musicians including Phish and Train are joining a national sing-a-long to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the national anthem and the flag that inspired its lyrics. The National Museum of American History is coordinating the celebration Saturday, which is Flag Day. (AP Photo/Hugh Talman, Smithsonian Institution)


WASHINGTON — Girl Scouts, Little League baseball players, celebrity musicians and President Barack Obama are joining a national celebration Saturday, which is flag day, marking the 200th anniversary of the national anthem and the flag that inspired its lyrics.

Obama will introduce 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 is coordinating 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 will be 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, will lead the sing-a-long on the National Mall at 4 p.m. A 400-person choir will also perform "America the Beautiful" and "Lift Every Voice" during an earlier concert. The performances will be 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.


Online: http://anthemforamerica.si.edu/

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