They will beon display at City Hall June 14th & 15th.
The original handwritten notes of the "Star Spangled Banner" penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814 are coming to Frederick. Tourism Council Executive Director John Fieseler says they will be part of the observances in Frederick of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
He says historical markers will also be placed around the city at sites connected to the War of 1812, describing their significance with that conflict. On June 14th, the markers and the lyrics will be dedicated during a Flag Day ceremony at Mt. Olivet Cemetery near Mr. Key's grave site. "They'll actually be on hand for the ceremony we do to dedicate the markers at Mt. Olivet on Friday the 14th," he says. "They won't be on public display there, but right from the ceremony, they will go to City Hall at Court House Square." Fieseler says the public will get the chance to see the lyrics on display at City Hall on Friday afternoon, June 14th, and Saturday, June 15th from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM.
Key wrote the poem after watching the bombardment of Baltimore Harbor in September, 1814, by the British fleet. The bombs continued to fall overnight, but when the dawn came, according to the song, Key noticed the US flag was still flying over Ft. McHenry.
The "Star Spangled Banner" didn't become the National Anthem until the 1930's.
Key is buried in Frederick, where he once practiced law.
The original lyrics to the "Star Spangled Banner" are kept at the Maryland Historical Society Headquarters in Baltimore, where they very rarely leave. But Fieseler says the Tourism Council was able to get them to be loaned temporarily to Frederick as part of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. "Burt Kummerow, who, of course, first used to live in downtown Frederick when he was the first director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, is now director of the Maryland Historical Society, and has been very cordial and cooperative with this effort. He knows the folks here in Frederick and is confident that we're going to be able to do a good job with this," says Fieseler.
He also says this lyrics and Key's remains haven't been this close to each other since the poem was written in 1814.
The County tried to get the original lyrics to come to Frederick in 1998 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Francis Scott Key Memorial, but that request was denied.
In addition to the lyrics, Fieseler says the Tourism Council managed to get a British bomb "which burst in air" during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry. It will be on display at the Visitors Center on East Street. "That will be here for a longer term basis. We have a long term loan from the Park Service and that will be added to the Francis Scott Key area at the Visitors Center. We'll dedicate that that weekend as well," says Fieseler.