Cincinnati Museum Center celebrates Flag Day with singing of National Anthem

Honor both the current Stars and Stripes and one of the nation’s first flags

CINCINNATI – Join Cincinnati Museum Center as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner on Flag Day, June 14th, with a National Anthem Sing-Along and the display of a Revolutionary War flag that pre-dates The Star Spangled Banner.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the official United States Flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, which is widely believed to have been sewn by Betsy Ross at the behest of George Washington in 1776. By 1814 some modifications were made to the original flag to allow for the addition of two new states and became known as the Star Spangled Banner. That flag, flying defiantly despite British bombardment, inspired Francis Scott Key to write what would become our National Anthem during the siege of Fort McHenry in 1814.
Today, the Star Spangled Banner resides at the Smithsonian Institute, and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its creation, The Smithsonian is organizing “Raise it Up! Anthem for America,” a sing-along of our National Anthem on the Mall in Washington D.C. The Smithsonian is hoping that this patriotic sentiment will sweep the nation, and accordingly, Cincinnati Museum Center will be hosting its own sing-along of the National Anthem in the Rotunda at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 14th. Local acts will also be performing patriotic tunes throughout the day to set the tone for the sing-along at 4 p.m.
And while you may not be able to travel to Washington D.C. to see the Smithsonian put its national treasure on display, Cincinnati Museum Center has a treasure of its own residing right here in the Cincinnati History Museum: a 1770s Revolutionary War flag that predates the Star Spangled Banner that inspired Key to write our National Anthem.
The flag was initially created in 1776 to be carried into battle by the First Pennsylvania Battalion during the Revolutionary War. The flag itself bears 13 arrows bound together with a ribbon – a typical symbol for the United Colonies at that time. In the upper left hand corner of the flag lays a more familiar symbol of the 13 colonies: a block of 13 red and white stripes.
General Josiah Harmar, who had served with the First Pennsylvania Battalion, brought the flag west in 1789 during the construction of Fort Washington in Cincinnati. This flag has been closely associated with the City of Cincinnati and dubbed the “Fort Washington Flag” under the supposition that it was raised over Fort Washington by General Harmar either in 1789 when he assumed command of the First Regiment, United States Infantry or in 1790 when Governor Arthur St. Clair issued a proclamation regarding the Northwest Territory and the City of Cincinnati. Regardless of the true arrival date of the “Fort Washington Flag,” it remains an incredible piece of the nation’s early history and an extremely rare artifact now housed in the Cincinnati History Museum.
Once you’ve seen our Revolutionary War relic, take a moment to marvel at Cincinnati Museum Center’s breathtaking American flag hanging in the Grand Rotunda. The 30 by 60- foot flag stands out in the massive 106-foot tall Rotunda and serves as a poignant symbol of our nation’s unity as it was installed in the Rotunda in the wake of 9/11. The flag, donated by the late Carl Lindner, Jr., also has notable moments in its short history. It served as the backdrop for both George W. Bush’s October 2002 speech making a case to the nation for the invasion of Iraq and then-Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s September 2008 speech.
Cincinnati Museum Center will be joining in the Smithsonian’s “Raise It Up! Anthem for America” on Flag Day, Saturday, June 14 by hosting a sing-along to the National Anthem in the Rotunda. For more information on Flag Day and “Raise It Up! Anthem for America” visit anthemforamerica.smithsonian.com. For more information on Cincinnati Museum Center and the Fort Washington Flag visit www.cincymuseum.org

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