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‘Star-Spangled Banner’ handwritten text heads to Smithsonian for Flag Day

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It's history in the making, as the original, handwritten text of "The Star-Spangled Banner," penned by Francis Scott Key, and the flag that inspired the lyrics are both set for simultaneous display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. — a first for the joint showing.

The manuscript is usually at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The flag, meanwhile, has been at the Smithsonian since the early 1900s — but this is the first time they'll be paired for a single showing, The Associated Press reported.

The showing is set to make its debut on Flag Day, June 14. The items will be on display for three weeks, through July 6.

"It's meant to be emotional," said Jennifer Jones, the curator who oversees the flag, in the AP report. "It's meant to be reflective."

The song was penned by Mr. Key on Sept. 14, 1814, as he watched the British launch a 24-hour assault against Baltimore's Fort McHenry. The 35-year-old lawyer later said the words came to mind after he saw the flag still standing the next morning — a sign that troops had withstood the British attack.

The poem was originally called "Defense of Fort McHenry," but it was later renamed and put to music. It became the nation's official anthem in 1931.

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