A few years ago we were on a historical tour and stayed in Washington D.C. While there we spent a few days at the Smithonian and got to see this amazing piece of American history.
I was surprised at it’s size. Originally 30 x 42 feet it now measures 30 x 34. To get an idea of the deminsions, a 2 car garage is 24 x 24.
I compared seeing the flag to my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon — pictures don’t do it justice.
I thought at the time that the damage and reduced size was only due to deterioration and elements while it was flying, but in reading more, it seems that after the battle, the Armistead family occasionally gave away pieces of it as souveniers and gifts. If only they had known. The original had fifteen stars but one was given as a gift so the current flag has fourteen because unfortunately, the recipient and current whereabouts of the fifteenth star are unknown.
The Star Spangled Banner will never fly again, but it doesn’t diminish it’s presence. If you’re ever at the Smithsonian I would recommend seeing it. To me it was awe inspiring. It lays in a 2,000 square foot conservation laboratory on a 35 foot cylinder that rolls out onto a table large enough to hold the entire banner. This preservation exhibit brings the banner closer to visitors than ever before.
There are a lot of articles about this national treasure online. A couple I particularily like is “What Happened To The Star-Spangled Banner’s missing star?”
and “The Star-Spangled Banner and It’s Missing Star”.