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Smithsonian To Exhibit ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Manuscript With Flag That Inspired It

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Bui Linh 370x278 XL (2) Linh Bui
Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Two important pieces of American history will be brought together for the very first time, and you can see this incredibly special display.

Linh Bui explains why this collaboration is so important.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” turns 200 years old in the fall, and this display kicks off the bicentennial celebration.

They are words we know by heart, written 200 years ago.

Francis Scott Key’s hand-written manuscript of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore since 1953.

“There are people who are very touched by the fact that this has actually survived. And they’re looking at the original work that Francis Scott Key himself did,” said Burt Kummerow, Maryland Historical Society president.

Key’s inspiration? An American flag, which stood at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

His lyrics became our national anthem.

The flag has been housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Now for the very first time, the manuscript will join the flag in Washington. They’ll be displayed side by side.

“We have two authentic pieces of that moment in 1812 when the ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was born,” Kummerow said. “There are iconic figures, and this is a big deal.”

The pairing is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The manuscript rarely leaves its glass case. But in recent years, it has been taken to the state capital in Annapolis, Fort McHenry and the Frederick cemetery where Francis Scott Key is buried.

It’s meant to be emotional and reflective–two historic pieces finally together.

There are also talks to take the manuscript on tour, to places like Mount Vernon and Independence Hall.

The flag and manuscript will be displayed together at the Smithsonian from June 14 through July 6.

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