“The Star-Spangled Banner’s” 80thAnniversary Celebration includes the Original 197 Year Old Manuscript by Francis Scott Key

For Immediate Release Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690, mapter@mdhs.org

The National Anthem Celebration Foundation kicks off the celebration activities

Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland – March 1, 2011 – In an unprecedented event, the National Anthem Celebration Foundation, Inc. (NAC) working in cooperation with the Maryland Historical Society, Senate President Mike Miller and Senators Allan Kittleman and James Robey, will for the first time in 197 years, showcase the original manuscript written by Marylander Francis Scott Key away from its permanent home at the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) in Baltimore, Maryland.  A Dunbar Armored vehicle, a police escorted motorcade and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the NAC President and the Chairman and President of the MdHS will escort and transport the document to Annapolis, Maryland, for a special private reception hosted by the NAC for the Maryland General Assembly, members of the Maryland Congressional delegation, the Mayors of Baltimore and Annapolis as well as former Maryland Governors and special guests.

The original manuscript will be on display in Annapolis during this private two-hour reception to kick off the 80th anniversary week celebration.  This event also highlights the States efforts in preparation for the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission events and the NAC’s effort in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the writing of the anthem in September 2014.  “We are very honored to be given this opportunity to work with the Maryland Historical Society and others for the first time ever to display the manuscript  in our State capitol during such a pivotal week of celebrations. It is an important national treasure”, said Dan Esmond, Founder and President of the National Anthem Celebration Foundation, Inc., and former U.S. Secret Service Agent. “We want to Teach the Story and Celebrate the Song.  When you know the history of its conception, you will develop a greater respect and understanding for what it represents – freedom and liberty in our country and praise for those who fought and continue to fight in many ways to defend it.  It is important for future generations to continue to understand and pass on the history of the song.”

Nearly 197 years after Francis Scott Key penned the words of his patriotic song of praise to the American flag and the defenders of Fort McHenry, during the battle of Baltimore September 13-14, 1814; Maryland and Federal lawmakers will have the exclusive opportunity to view the manuscript away from its permanent home.  On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed Congressional legislation making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official American National Anthem.  After the Annapolis event, the manuscript will make its way to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the birthplace of the national anthem, to be featured during the grand opening of the new visitor’s center on March 3, the actual 80th anniversary of the anthem. It will remain on display there to the public for several months

The home of the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner is in the museum of the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore.  Burt Kummerow, President of the Maryland Historical Society, said, "We here at the center for Maryland history are honored to be able to share this national icon, the "Star Spangled Banner" document.  It was penned by Francis Scott Key the night after the attack on Ft. Mc Henry ended in 1814. Along with the flag itself, it is a special treasure for all Americans. On this important 80th anniversary of our National Anthem we take the document first to this special reception in Annapolis and then to Ft. McHenry for three months as special guest for the opening of their new visitor center." 

The NAC event in Annapolis will feature catered lite fare and members of the United States Naval Academy Glee Club singing all four verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Also featured will be key note addresses by law makers, state proclamations and other pomp and circumstance as well as a custom four-tiered cake created by Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes representing the four versus of the song. The event will also include representation from members of each of the Armed Services and local American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). 

In an effort to support future battle grounds, The NAC will also announce and award cyber security scholarships with regional partners Rsignia and L2 Integrated Solutions, to Howard Community College. “We at Howard Community College are grateful for the generous support our students will be receiving from the National Anthem Celebration Foundation, Rsignia and L2,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, President of Howard Community College. “Thanks to you, students pursuing careers in cyber defense at HCC will be able to access the college for critical job preparation.”

On September 13, 1814, during the War of 1812, a war to affirm American independence, , a fleet of 50-British bomb ships launched a massive 25-hour sustained bombardment of Fort McHenry firing close to 1800 bombs and rockets at the star-shaped fort.  It was on the morning of September 14th that Francis Scott Key, a Georgetown lawyer who had negotiated the release of a prisoner from the British - but was held aboard ship until after the attack- witnessed the assault and was inspired to write and describe the scene and his patriotic feeling about the flag and its defenders.   

### Press Opportunity begins with motorcade at approx 3pm at the MdHS 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore and a 5:30 Press Availability with the original manuscript and lawmakers at the  Miller Senate Office Building, President’s Conference Room West 1&2 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis MD  For more information, contact Dan Esmond at 443-827-9383.

The Maryland Historical Society (MDHS) was founded in 1844 and is the world’s largest museum and library dedicated to the history of Maryland. Occupying an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore, the society’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage.” The Maryland Historical Society has a museum, a library, and publishes a quarterly magazine titled “Maryland Historical Magazine.” More information about the Maryland Historical Society can be found online at http://www.mdhs.org/

About the National Anthem Celebration Foundation , Inc.

The National Anthem Celebration Foundation (NAC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness, education and appreciation for our National Anthem through partnerships, outreach and events in celebrating the song that identifies the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The NAC is a Maryland based non-profit organization that launched in early 2009.  Our mission is to increase public awareness, education and appreciation for our National Anthem for all those living in American and teach the history and events that spawned its creation.  The NAC will endeavor to create and coordinate national bicentennial celebrations events throughout the nation leading up to the bicentennial date and beyond.  The NAC in cooperation with media outlets will create a series of patriotic education video documentaries to attract the attention of the nation’s youth to renew and inspire interest in the national anthem.  

The NAC is currently showcasing its mission this year with some of its partners, Harbor Place and The Gallery, the Maryland Historical Society, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, The Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, Cannons Online and others at The Gallery Mall in the Inner Harbor, which estimates 15 million visitors annually.  This effort spearheaded and coordinated by the NACl showcases replica war of 1812 period items to include uniforms of Baltimore’s Defenders, a 30’x 42’ 15 Star American flag (the same size as the one that inspired Key.  Portraits of pivotal figures including the role they played in the War of 1812.  This full size, museum quality diorama serves as an education and marketing tool to increase interest and visitation to the various partners.